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Rally Catalunya: Mixed objectives at a mixed surface encounter for Team ORECA

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2015_Rallye_WRC2_Corse_201Less than three weeks after a convincing Tour de Corse, Team ORECA’s programme in the WRC2 class as part of the World Rally Championship will soon continue with the Rally Catalunya (October 22nd-25th). Having picked up momentum throughout the season, both crews entered by the team have built on top-quality performances round after round. Following on a second-place finish at the Rally Deutschland, Eric Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas have managed to climb on the podium again in Corsica. As for Teemu Suninen and Mikko Markkula, they ranked 6th and 5th respectively in both of those rallies. Attending this very demanding Catalan rally which they are both about to discover, the French and Finnish duets will try to maintain that pace while keeping on gaining experience, on board their Fiesta R5. A delicate task on a layout which will alternate between gravel and asphalt surfaces.

After two podiums back-to-back in Germany and Corsica, Eric Camilli approaches this Rally de Catalunya in good conditions. “I’m happy to discover this famous round of the World Championship, even though it’s not entirely held on asphalt anymore. The gravel surface sections promise to be challenging. We’ll have to quickly adapt to these changes of surface, in terms of both driving style and car set-ups. It’s an interesting challenge, all the more since there’ll be strong contenders, many of them will be fighting for the first places. Our first aim will be not to damage the car during the first day on gravel. Then, from the second day on, I’ll try to maintain a fast pace on asphalt, just like I’ve shown before on that surface. But let’s not take too many risks” he says. “I’ve surely driven much more this year than throughout my entire career. I’ve gained confidence. Nevertheless, there’s still a long way to go, a lot of experience to garner. That’s what I’ll be looking for at the Rally de Catalunya” he confirms.

2015_Rallye_WRC2_Corse_01Looking forward to compete on Spanish roads and more particularly on some of the “superb asphalt sections” that he’s heard of, Teemu Suninen is in the same mindset as his teammate, combining confidence and wisdom. “I’ve got a god pace and things are going the right way, but there’s still a lot to learn. I want to continue to improve, following on the rounds in Germany and Corsica, in order to gain experience for next season”, the young Finnish driver says. In the Fiesta R5 bucket seat since the Rally Deutschland, Teemu has quickly become familiar with the car and the WRC2 championship. “I always try to do my best, staying 100% focused on my work. I also have the chance to have a fantastic team behind me”, he analyses. “In Catalunya, the key will be to find the right pace, whatever the surface. I’ve never been on gravel with the car before, but it’s a surface that I appreciate as much as asphalt.”

Unusual round, the Rally Catalunya will start with a semi-night special stage on Thursday evening in the streets of Montjuic area in Barcelona. The following day, six special stages, 100% gravel, are scheduled as well as the Terra Alta stage which all contenders will go through twice. It will be the longest stage of the rally (35,68km) and the only one combining gravel and asphalt. Saturday’s and Sunday’s eight and six special stages will be entirely asphalt. In total, this rally will include 331km of timed sections.