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FIESTA R5 PREVIEW QUOTES: WALES RALLY GB

M-Sport will be running a number of Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta R5s in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. Here’s what our WRC 2 contenders had to say ahead of the event.

Teemu Suninen said:

“I have always liked this rally. If there is some fog and rain then it all comes down to who can be the bravest out on the stages. In those conditions you need to be fearless. Sometimes in the fog you can’t see past the clips on your bonnet and you need to have complete trust in your co-driver. I’m looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get started.”

Éric Camilli said:

“Wales Rally GB is a really unique event and a very special place for me. There is nothing else like it on the calendar. The last time we competed there with the Fiesta R5, we had a great event, and we’ll be hoping to challenge for the win again this year.

“We’ll need to be fully focused if we want to achieve that. It’s one of the most challenging events of the year and all of the WRC 2 competitors will be there – all wanting victory.

“The days are long and the grip levels are constantly changing, but when you get it right – when you deliver that perfect stage in such difficult conditions – it’s an amazing feeling. I’m really looking forward to it and hoping to experience lots of those feelings.”

Gus Greensmith said:

“It’s always nice to go rallying at home. Personally, it makes me that little bit more relaxed and I really enjoy the atmosphere at Wales Rally GB. But by far the best part of rallying at home is that I get to go home and see my dogs on Sunday evening!

“This is a classic event and one that I feel will be a part of the FIA World Rally Championship for a long time. As such, I think it’s important to keep returning and keep building my experience.

“The grip levels can change so much and that’s probably what’s considered the biggest challenge. But I don’t see it as a challenge. I see it as an opportunity. A lot of my strongest performances this year have come when the grip is tricky to read. You have to drive with a margin to avoid costly mistakes, but I’m hoping we can deliver.

“We’ve turned heads for the right reasons and the wrong reasons this year, but I am determined to enjoy my home event and hopefully a strong result will follow. It’s only a matter of time before everything starts to click into place.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet said:

“This is one of my favourite rallies and the atmosphere is just amazing! I have very nice memories from rallying here in the Junior WRC. It was my best rally at that level of performance and I’m hoping that we can challenge for something similar this year.

“You have to be so focused not to make a mistake because the weather can make this event so, so difficult. You really do have to be ultra-concentrated. The days are very long and difficult and, with no midday services, you don’t have the assistance to make any repairs.

“But my goal will be to give it everything I have. The competition will be very strong, but I will try to fight for the podium.”

Pedro Heller said:

“I’m really happy to be here in Wales for our fifth and last event of the year. We’re feeling very comfortable and have learnt a lot over the year. Here in Wales we want to put everything we have learnt into practice and deliver a good performance on this very difficult rally.”

Matthew Wilson said:

“To say I’m excited about this rally would be something of an understatement. It’s been a while since I’ve been driving competitively, but rallying is very much in my blood and I always like to get out on the stages at least once a year.

“Last year I did the Pirelli Rally with Stuart [Loudon, co-driver]. We had a great run and were keen to get back out again this year. The WRC has been absolutely phenomenal this season. The competition is as close as it’s ever been – it’s so exciting and myself and Stuart both really wanted to be a part of that. With Wales Rally GB being our home event, it provided the perfect opportunity.

“In all honesty, the idea behind us doing the rally started off as a bit of fun, but it’s got more and more serious as the weeks went on. It’s such a challenging event and you never know what to expect – rain, fog, wind, we can expect it all. Then there’s the added challenge of the long days and the night stages – it’s going to be a classic Wales Rally GB.

“Realistically, I know that the pace in WRC 2 is really hot. You just have to look at drivers like Teemu [Suninen] to know how strong the competition will be, and all of the main players will be in action next week. It’ll take us a while to get back up to speed, but we plan to go out there and enjoy it. When you enjoy your driving, the times tend to come good, and that’s what we’ll be aiming for.”

Kalle Rovenpera said:

“The feeling ahead of this event is really good and I’m looking forward to it. This will be my second international event, but of course my first WRC event. It’s a really long rally which is very different from what I am used to, but I’m sure it will be a lot of fun.

“It’s going to be a challenging weekend, but I hope it will be a good weekend for me too. I like to drive in really challenging, slippery conditions and these roads aren’t too dissimilar from some we have in Finland. I hope that will help us and we can have a good rally.”

Matt Edwards said:

“This is a big event for me. I have been rallying for 13 years and always felt that the FIA World Rally Championship was out of reach. This is an amazing opportunity, and I’m really looking forward to the whole experience.

“Night stages have always been a favourite for me, so I am looking forward to those. I’m not sure why, but I have always felt comfortable in the dark, tricky conditions. I know these stages well, but I must admit that I’ve not had a lot of gravel seat time recently and will have to work hard to translate that knowledge into some good stage times.

“The aim is to secure three good days of experience and reach the finish in my home town of Llandudno. More than anything, I just want to enjoy it. Of course I want to secure the best possible result, and hope to continue the progress that I have made over the last 18 months, but enjoyment will be the key factor.”