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The second half of the Fiesta SportingTrophy International (FSTi) season gets underway with this weekend’s fourth round of the series on OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland. It’s set to be another close battle in the one make rally, with the prize of a supported drive in the J-WRC next season at stake.
Germany’s tarmac rally will be the third and final tarmac event in the six round series and it is set to offer a very technical challenge for the eight Fiesta STs entered in the event, including new competitor Castrol supported Emma Gilmour who comes all the way from New Zealand.
Gilmour and her fellow competitors will face an event which some reckon is the most challenging on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar. The FSTi runs alongside the FIA Junior World Rally Championship and although the costs for FSTi competitors are far smaller, the challenges of the stages are still the same.
The first day of the rally takes place on narrow roads in the Mosel vineyards with fast straight sections ended by hairpins to keep drivers on their toes. Saturday sees competitors take to military roads more normally used by tanks and banked by stone ‘hinkelsteins’ which usually have as their purpose stopping errant tanks! The final day has faster, smoother tarmac where precision will be rewarded.
Leading the series points is Italian driver Alessandro Bettega who won both of the last two events, Rally d’Italia Sardegna and Rallye de France – Tour de Corse. The Italian hotelier, co-driven by Simone Scattolin, will be contesting the German round of the FIA World Rally Championship for the first time, and can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of his Fiesta ST.
“I think that we can do well in Germany,” says Bettega. “I am looking forward to it because it has been a while since I last drove the car in Sardinia and I have been missing rallying a lot. I would say that Germany will be very tricky, above all if it is going to rain.”
Although Bettega currently heads the table all it will take is one bad result and his opposition will be right with him. In second spot, seven points behind him, is opening round winner, Frenchman Mathieu Biasion. “It is important for me to have a good result,” says Biasion, who is co-driven by Cedric Beynet. “I like tarmac very much and I would like to have a win as that is what I need for my championship.”
Gilles Schammel, currently in third in the points standings has been improving all through the season and feels Germany should go well for himself and co-driver Belgian Renaud Jamoul. "After a first gravel experience in Sardinia with an excellent result of second, we have great ambitions for our ‘home’ event,” says the Luxembourg driver. “It will be a great pleasure to compete in front of such many supporters, and we hope we don't disappoint them!"
Scot Barry Clark is the only competitor to be contesting both the Fiesta SportingTrophy International and the Junior World Rally Championship and he comes to Germany straight after contesting Rally Isle of Man, also in a Fiesta. “I haven’t really had time to even think about Germany, but we’ll have some good tarmac preparation,” says Clark who is co-driven by Scott Martin. “It looks like an interesting event and it should be a real challenge. We set quickest times last time out in the Fiesta SportingTrophy so it would be good to do that again on a different surface.”
Joining the series is Kiwi Emma Gilmour who will be co-driven by John Bennie. “I can’t wait to get to Germany,” says Gilmour. “The Fiestas look fantastic and they are amazing to drive, it’s a superb opportunity. I’ve never been to Germany before and speaking to people the rally is very different on the three days so it should be a real challenge.”
The Russian crew of Vertunov Evgeniy and co-driver Georgy Troshkin hope to have a solid next two events, with the FSTi fifth round, Neste Oil Rally Finland taking place the weekend immediately after this event.
“I'm really looking forward to the next two events,” says Evgeniy. “Germany will be very difficult for me because I didn't have practice tarmac rally since Corsica. But I hope that Finland will be good because I have more experience on gravel. Both events are interesting because they are the first time for me.”
Also out in action will be the Greek crew of Lambros Anthanassoulas and Nikos Mouzakis who currently are in fourth place in the standings and the Finnish crew of Kalle Keskinen and Juha Koljonen.
OMV ADAV Rallye Deutschland runs from August 11-13. After Germany the Fiesta SportingTrophy International heads straight to Finland for Neste Oil Rally Finland on August 18-20. 
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