Rally Bulgaria - Update after Stage 7, Lyubnitsa
The Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team started day two of Rally Bulgaria with different tyres as Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin opted for soft compound Pirelli PZero tyres whereas team-mates, P-G Andersson/Jonas Andersson, chose hard compound tyres.

Both drivers reported that the opening 27.46 stage was extremely dirty and their Ford Focus RS WRCs struggled in several wet patches and fog towards the end of the stage. Andersson noted that he kept losing grip on the slippery road surface as a result of the harder tyres but despite this, completed the stage 5.2 seconds ahead of Wilson.

Andersson steadily improved his times throughout SS6 and finished the 18.13km stage sixth-fastest overall, 0.4 seconds ahead of BP Ford Abu Dhabi’s Mikko Hirvonen and 1.2 seconds quicker than former Formula One Champion, Kimi Raikkonen. Wilson suffered from a launch control failure at the beginning of the stage which lost him time but the 23-year-old driver went onto finish the stage ninth-fastest.

The final stage of the morning was cancelled as spectators blocked the finish and delayed the morning proceedings by over 50 minutes. This was disappointing for Andersson whose hard tyres would have suited the stage conditions perfectly. This means there will be a 27 minute delay going into the afternoon’s stages.

Stobart M-Sport Ford driver Matthew Wilson said:
“We had nothing to lose this morning so opted for the soft compound tyres which was a good decision considering today’s changeable weather conditions. The first stage was damp to start, then got foggy and wet towards the end and I could really feel the change in altitude at the end of the stage. We didn’t have any more major dramas for the rest of the morning apart from the launch control failing at the start of SS6. The car is going fine and feels like I’ve got a better balance, the rear definitely isn’t as lively as it was yesterday.”

Stobart M-Sport Ford driver P-G Andersson said:
“I’m really disappointed that the last stage was cancelled this morning as I’m sure I would have got a good time. The first stage was really slippery but was more abrasive about half way through which suited us better – we definitely made the wrong tyre choice though. I felt like everything was running much more smoothly in the second stage and managed to pick up the pace. I think we’ll keep things the same for this afternoon’s stages though but I’m just praying that the rain stays off.”

Rally Bulgaria Leader board after SS7
1 S Loeb/D Elena Citroen C4 1 hour 32 min 21.2 sec
2 D Sordo/M Marti Citroen C4 + 30 sec
3 P Solberg/C Patterson Citroen C4 + 56.8 sec
4 S Ogier/J Ingrassa Citroen C4 + 1 min 59.9 sec
5 M Hirvonen/J Lehtinen Ford Focus RS + 2 min 32.1 sec
6 J-M Latvala/M Anttila Ford Focus RS + 2 min 40.2 sec
7 P-G Andersson/J Andersson Ford Focus RS + 4 min 01.1 sec
8 F Turan/G Lsiros Peugeot 307 + 4 min 11.0 sec
9 M Wilson/S Martin Ford Focus RS + 5 min 42.0 sec
10 H Solberg/I Minor Ford Focus S2000 + 7 min 41.2 sec

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