Vandaag veel nieuws rondom de rijders van het Ford WRC en Stobart WRC Teams, wel en niet verwacht is de plotselinge switch van Jari-Matti Latvala die tijdelijk terug is gezet naar het Stobart Team. Lees hieronder de 3 persberichten die vandaag werden uitgegeven door M-Sport.

Duval dashes in for Stobart’s NZ challenge:

Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin and François Duval/Patrick Pivato will head to the southern
hemisphere for round 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship next week; Repco Rally New
Zealand. With regular Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team member Gigi Galli sidelined after last
week’s accident in Germany, Duval has been called up for the NZ event after his impressive third
place result on the German stages.

Usually a team may only change one element of its submitted entry for an event but due to the
obvious safety issue brought about by a language barrier, the FIA granted permission for the
team to use Duval, and regular co-driver Pivato, to replace Galli and co-driver Giovanni

Historically speaking the Stobart brand has always travelled well in the Land of the Long White
Cloud with last year’s event seeing all three crews finish inside the top-ten. 2007 was also a
record year for the closest winning rally margin when Marcus Grönholm defeated Sebestien Loeb
by the narrowest of gaps; 0.3 seconds.

Of the two Stobart drivers Duval comes in as the most experienced with three New Zealand
rallies under his belt. The Belgian has had mixed fortunes since his first event in 2003 but his
most promising came on his last attempt in 2005 when he finished fourth overall.

For Wilson this will be his third start at Rally New Zealand with the youngster’s best ever result
coming last year when he finished 10th. The 21-year-old has always shown good improvements in
pace on this event and will be looking to continue this form after his promotion to a nominated
points scorer for the team.

Rally New Zealand is a feature rally on the WRC calendar and this 29th edition of the event as a
WRC round is shaping up to be one of the greatest yet. No fewer than 14 world rally cars have
entered the event this year.

Considered a drivers’ favourite, the rally is characterised by its fast, flowing and perfectly
cambered roads which give the impression the cars are dancing as they hammer through the
countryside of New Zealand’s north island. In the past, average speeds of well over 100kph have
been the benchmark to win the event and it’s these exciting elements that make it a true favourite
with competitors.

Crews will travel 354.58 kilometres of competitive stage distance over 16 demanding stages
based around the event’s headquarters in Hamilton. This year again sees stages run in the
Raglan region and along the western coastline of the north island which offer spectators some of
the most picturesque scenery in the world. After a successful event on the Pirelli PZero in
Germany last week where they picked up their 150th WRC victory, the tyre manufacturer will be
providing the Stobart squad with the Scorpion gravel tyre for New Zealand.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver François Duval said:
“I haven’t competed in New Zealand for two years so it will be difficult going back there with
some new stages and knowing most of the other competitors have the advantage of experience on
the roads. But I know that the Ford Focus is a fantastic car on gravel and that is a good feeling for
me; I am confident that I will be able to a find a comfortable setting with it quite soon. It is also a
benefit to have spent time in the car just last week. My plan for the rally is firstly to try and finish
in the points and if the confidence is good then maybe I will be able to increase the speed.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Driver Matthew Wilson said:
“This is probably my favourite event so I’m really looking forward to it and getting back on
gravel after Germany. We are also nominated to score points on what is one of my stronger
events so hopefully we can help the Stobart team out in New Zealand. I like the nature of the
stages and the camber of the corners plus the high speeds which give the event a Finland sort of
feel. I have heard reports of quite bad weather recently in Hamilton so it will be interesting to see
how the stages hold up once we are out there.”

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“New Zealand is a classic event and certainly one of the drivers’ favourites. I know Matthew
likes the surface and the characteristics of the roads so it will be a good chance for him to put
what he has learnt in Finland to good use, now that he is nominated for points for the Stobart
team. François brings a wealth of experience to the squad and we can see that, after his great
result in Germany last week, he is getting much more familiar with the car. He has proved his
pace on fast gravel before so I think we have a solid pairing here to pick up a strong points haul
for the Stobart team.”

Event Information
Date: 29-31 August 2008
Round: 11 of 15 FIA World Rally Championship
Based: Hamilton, New Zealand
Stage surface: Gravel
Total stage distance: 354.58 km
Number of stages: 16
Longest stage: Waitomo at 43.98km (SS2 & 4)
Central Service Park: Mystery Creek Events Centre

Bron: M-Sport

Latvala reunited with Stobart for sealed surface events:

Flying Finn Jari-Matti Latvala will join the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford rally team for the two
remaining asphalt rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship in Spain and Corsica in October.
The former Stobart star will re-join his old team-mate Matthew Wilson and will be a nominated
point scoring driver on both sealed surface events.

Latvala will then return to duties with the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team for the
remaining two gravel events in Japan and Great Britain. The Finn will continue to be partnered
with regular co-driver Miikka Anttila.

The 23-year-old had a fantastic year with the Stobart team last season, which saw some
impressive results that included his first ever podium finish on the last Tarmac event of the year
in Ireland.

Originally due to contest the two asphalt events for the Stobart Ford outfit was François
Duval/Patrick Pivato. However, due to their recent podium form in Germany and well-known
ability on asphalt, they will be nominated to score points for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally
Team to help repeat their success in the FIA Manufacturers’ Championship.

Latvala’s form on asphalt is impressive also and he scored a seventh in Spain and fourth in
Corsica for the Stobart team last year.

Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team Principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“With François moving to the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team for Spain and Corsica it allows Jari-Matti
to score points for the Stobart team, a team he is very familiar with after much success together
last season. He has delivered excellent performances in the past for the Stobart squad and I’m
confident that he will help boost the team’s chances in the manufacturer championship.”

Bron M-Sport

Duval to partner Hirvonen at Ford for Spain and Corsica rallies:

Asphalt expert François Duval has been called up to join the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally
Team for the final two sealed surface rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship in Spain (2 -5
October) and Corsica (9 -12 October). The 27-year-old Belgian will be nominated to score points
for the reigning manufacturers' world champion in a Ford Focus RS World Rally Car alongside
season-long nominee and drivers' title challenger Mikko Hirvonen.

Duval is acknowledged as one of the world's leading asphalt drivers and finished third on this
month's Rallye Deutschland at the wheel of a Focus RS WRC for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford
team. He will also drive for the Stobart squad on next week's Rally New Zealand as a
replacement for injured Italian Gigi Galli.

He will be co-driven by Frenchman Patrick Pivato and the duo will replace Jari-Matti Latvala and
Miikka Anttila, who will be nominated by the Stobart team. Duval's Focus RS WRC will be in
traditional BP Ford Abu Dhabi livery. Latvala will partner Hirvonen in New Zealand next week
and also in the final two gravel rounds of the season in Japan in October and Great Britain in

"François was due to drive a Focus RS WRC for the Stobart team in Spain and Corsica," said BP
Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson. "His abilities on asphalt are well-known to us
from his time as a works Ford driver from 2002 to 2004 and this decision will strengthen our-line
up for those two rallies. A third consecutive manufacturers' world title is our aim this season and
François' experience of these two specialised rallies will maximise our chances of obtaining strong

Duval, who has one WRC win to his credit, finished third in Corsica in a Focus RS WRC in 2003
and second in Spain in 2005. "I'm delighted that Malcolm has the confidence to nominate me for
the BP Ford Abu Dhabi team," said Duval. "After several seasons with Ford previously I'm
comfortable with the set-up here. New Zealand will be my third rally in a Focus RS WRC this
season so I also feel confident with the car. I hope I can score well on both asphalt rallies and play
my part in Ford retaining the world title."

Ford of Europe motorsport director Mark Deans said: "It's an advantage of Ford's customer
programmes in the WRC that we have great depth of quality with the experience to step up to the
highest level when required. Our customer teams increase the pool of talent with which we can
work and this is a clear example of how Ford, as a whole, benefits from the system."

Bron: M-Sport

Foto's: eigendom 'Focusmania'

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