Teams herald new dawn in WRC
"It’s interesting for everybody this year"
Ford and Citroen have both praised the new World Rally Car technical regulations for producing a scintillating start to the 2011 World Rally Championship season.
The year kicked off with Rally Sweden, one of the closest-fought events in the history of the series, which finished in the city of Karlstad this evening. The event was won by Mikko Hirvonen in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, but both Ford and Citroen’s all-new 1.6-litre cars starred on the frozen roads north of Karlstad.
Ford team director Malcolm Wilson was effusive in his praise for the new rules, saying: “This is a fantastic start. Look at Saturday night, five drivers in 15 seconds after two full days of rallying. The new rules have worked for the cars. The cars look pretty evenly matched. From what we have seen so far, we are quicker in some places then them and they are in some places than us.”
He continued: “It looks like it’s going to be a fantastic year - and what Sweden really showed is that the format of the sport we have now really does work. It gave us one of the most exciting rallies ever for round one and I’m sure they’ll continue in the same vein for the rest of this year.”
Wilson’s opposite number at Citroen, Olivier Quesnel continued on that theme, adding: “It’s interesting for everybody this year. We have the new cars and a new manufacturer coming [in MINI]. I think it will be a good year. The DS3 has been well-born, but in Sweden usually we are not as good [as Ford], but on Saturday we won all of the stages except one with [Sebastien] Loeb, [Sebastien] Ogier and Petter [Solberg], so we know the car is okay - and as we work more on gravel and Tarmac, from Mexico it should be okay for us.”
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