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Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team drivers Matthew Wilson and Luis Perez Companc enjoyed trouble-free runs through this morning’s shakedown stage, the final pre-event test before the brace of Ford Focus RS WRC 06s are pressed into competitive action first thing tomorrow morning.
 
The shakedown stage was run around the service park at Mystery Creek, close to Hamilton. Wilson drove the stage four times, while his team-mate Companc completed six runs before he was happy with this set-up of his car.
 
This event represents another big step on Wilson’s ladder to rallying success.  The 19-year-old is the youngest driver ever to form part of a full manufacturer team in the FIA World Rally Championship – and has impressed, showing pace and maturity beyond his years.  Wilson is hoping for a repeat of his finest hour in Argentina earlier this season, when he also became the youngest driver ever to score a WRC point and fastest stage time.
 
The Stobart VK M-Sport Ford pair have both identified this event as one of their favourites for the season, with the super-smooth and fast North Island roads suiting the style of Wilson and Companc.
 
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team driver Matthew Wilson said:
“Both the recce which we did earlier in the week and today’s shakedown have gone well. The roads here are fantastic, the cambers and the surface and everything is just great. It’s going to be a great deal of fun to drive here, there’s no doubt about that. For me the shakedown was just a systems check today. The car was great, every time I get in it to drive it, I come out with a big smile on my face. The rally can’t start soon enough.”
 
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team driver Luis Perez Companc said:
“I am happy with everything. The shakedown stage wasn’t very representative of what the actual stages will be like once we start tomorrow. Having said that, it is better than some of the shakedown venues – like Japan and Australia – which we’ve had on the last few rounds. I’m a very big fan of these stages, though. I enjoyed the faster stages in Australia a few weeks ago – and I’m sure I’m going to enjoy these.”
 
Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Team principal Malcolm Wilson said:
“Both cars ran well this morning. There haven’t been any problems at all. As with most gravel rallies these days, the running order and road position on the first day is going to be important for Matthew and Luis. They’re a bit further back, which will be good for them on leg one. They need to make the most of this and push on. In Australia, we saw that it’s not great news to be first on the road on the second and third days. On top of the running order, the weather is going to be important in our choice of tyres. The weather can change quickly out here and we’ve got to try and stay on top of that.”
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