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FIESTA R5 QUOTES, 2018 RALLY MEXICO, PREVIEW

M-Sport will field four EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta R5s at next week’s Rally Mexico – all contesting the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series, WRC 2. Here’s what they had to say ahead of the event.

Marquito Bulacia said:

“It’s incredible to be contesting my first WRC event – a dream come true and I want to be there right now! To think that I will be able to compete globally and represent Bolivia makes me immensely proud.

“In my country there were no R5 cars in competition last year, so I had to look outside for experience. We competed in Italy with the Fiesta and secured two podiums, but out of all the drivers in Mexico I will have the least amount of experience and will need the necessary kilometres to know what level we can be on.

“I have been doing a lot of physical preparations to be ready for next week. The competition will be very demanding with long days and lots of stages that generate great physical demands. Mentally, I try not to think too much and prefer that everything flows so that I can discover step by step. I’m still only 17 years old – and still attend school – so the effort to prepare has been important in every way.

“I definitely want to use this opportunity to learn and, in the last few days, I have been in contact with my engineer to discover all the details of set-up that will help me achieve a good feeling with the car.”

Gus Greensmith said:

“The only thing I am feeling ahead Rally Mexico is pure excitement. It feels like an incredibly long time since I have been behind the wheel and I am looking forward to kick-starting my 2018 WRC 2 campaign with a good result next week.

“We completed an extensive 200 kilometre test in Greystoke this week which proved incredibly valuable in terms of regaining the same level of confidence I had in the middle of last year. We have another test in Mexico prior to the event, and this will be important when it comes to adapting my driving style at high altitude.

“Despite a lot of the other competitors having a lot more seat time, I feel that a podium is a realistic target – and a positive target to ensure we finish the rally and collect a good haul of points to use as momentum going forwards.”

Pedro Heller said:

“Last year I made my WRC debut in Mexico. I didn’t have a lot of experience and it was tough for sure. This year, we have been working really hard and – even though there is still a lot to learn – I hope things go better.

“We have been doing a lot of training and exercise to be physically fit for the event, and we’ve also been doing a lot of driving with the Fiesta R5 on similar roads in Chile.

“We still have a lot to learn as this is only my second year in WRC 2 – and only my fourth year rallying – but let’s see what we can do. A podium would be a really nice result.”

Nil Solans said:

“This will be our first time driving the Ford Fiesta R5 on gravel, so we will need to see how it goes. It’s our first nominated event in the WRC 2 category, and the main objective is to finish the rally with as many points as possible.

“Everyone who competes wants to win, but our target is to quickly get a good feeling with the car and bring home the best result we can.

“I’ve been working on my physical fitness to be ready for the altitude. I live just 400 feet above sea level, so it will be a big change to get used to in just a few days!”