Fiesta drivers face exciting new challenge in Poland
- 22nd June 2009, 10:09am
The 2009 Fiesta SportTrophy International reaches its halfway point this weekend as the drivers take on Rally Poland for the first time.
Second round victor and championship leader, Patrick Anglade, will lead the way, but Rally Poland will also see the first appearance of reigning FSTi champion, Emre Yurdakul. He will be joined by Castrol Ford Team Türkiye team mate, Burcu Cetinkaya, to take on Russiaâ€™s Denis Grodetskiy and the Team Abu Dhabi drivers Majed Al Shamsi, Ahmed Al Mansoori and Bader Al Jabri.
Making its first appearance on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar since the 1970s, Rally Poland will provide a new and exciting challenge for all of the 55 entrants, including the seven FSTi competitors. With average speeds during the rally, which is based around the town of Mikolajki, expected to be higher than many other rallies this season, it will be a different test for the drivers than anything they have experienced so far this year.
The Fiesta SportTrophy International, supported by Pirelli, gives the competitors a chance to experience rallying at international level, pitting themselves against the best drivers in the world. The championship winner will receive an all-expenses-paid test in the latest specification Ford Focus RS WRC with Ford factory driver Mikko Hirvonen and the chance to discuss the test over dinner with the flying Finn and M-Sport Managing Director Malcolm Wilson. A prize fund has also been introduced and the winner of each rally will receive a â‚¬1,500 M-Sport voucher.
Anglade (21) from Germany showed speed and maturity as he put in a measured performance in Sardinia to take the win and leapfrog Craig Breen at the top of the FSTi driversâ€™ standings. He and co-driver Björn Röhm (29) hold an 18 point lead at the top of the table and, with two rounds of the championship gone, will be looking extend that in Poland.
Emre Yurdakul (26) could be the main threat to Anglade as he launches the defence of his title. Having missed the opening two rounds of the championship, he has a stern test ahead of him to overhaul the lead of the young German. FSTi will be a whole new experience for Burak Erdener, he joins the team as Yurdakulâ€™s co-driver.
Burcu Cetinkaya (28), a strong contender in last yearâ€™s FSTi, also returns for another crack at the title and, like her Castol Ford Team Türkiye team mate Yurdakul, has a new co-driver for Rally Poland as she pairs up with BahadÄ±r Gücenmez.
Veteran FSTi competitor Denis Grodetskiy and co-driver Safiony Lotko earned their first ever FSTi points in Sardinia. The Russian put his experience to good use taking four stage wins on the final day of competition there. He will be hoping to build on that in Poland, the closest FSTi event to his home, and present a real challenge to the championship leaders.
Bader Al Jabri (24) leads Team Abu Dhabiâ€™s FSTi challenge after Round 2 of the competition where he took two stages wins and finished in second place overall. The young Emirati and co-driver Alan Harryman will be looking to gain another podium finish in Poland.
But team mate Majed Al Shamsi (29) and co-driver Steve McAuley were hot on his heels in Sardinia, finishing third and taking four stages wins and he will be pushing to be the fastest Team Abu Dhabi driver over the fast roads in Poland.
Meanwhile, Ahmed Al Mansoori (22) must put the disappointment of his crash in Sardinia behind him as he aims to repeat his FSTi Round 1 performance in which he gained a podium finish.
Rally Poland will also play host to the new Fiesta R2 as it continues on its tour of Europe. After beginning the tour in Belgium this week, M-Sportâ€™s newest car will make a stop at the Super Special Stage of Rally Poland next Friday where invited guests will be driven by 2008 FST International Shootout winner Matthias Boon (BEL).
FSTi leader Patrick Anglade (21) from Germany said:
â€œWe have a perfect basic position. Right now, 18 points separate us from second-placed Craig Breen, who will not be taking part in the rally in Poland but I think we have to count in the Turkish team since they have been participating in the FSTi for two years and know their car by heart.
"It would be nice to come first in my division once more after the victory in Sardinia. Our possible score then would allow us a more relaxed attitude concerning the next event, the really difficult rally in Finland. To finish the rally there is our first priority because we do not and cannot afford a 'flop' at the moment.â€
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