PHOTO: Scott Pedder (left) and Dale Wood are ready to tackle WRC2 in Portugal (ARC pic)
AUSTRALIAN Rally Champion Scott Pedder is ready for the biggest challenge of his career, his debut in WRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal on 21-24 May.
Driving a new Ford Fiesta R5, Portugal will be the first of at least five rounds of the WRC2 series for Pedder and fellow Aussie co-driver Dale Moscatt. Their fifth round will be Rally Australia, but if the duo is successful they hope to return to Europe for Rally Spain and Rally GB.
The Portugal entry list includes 27 WRC2 drivers, with the Aussie newcomers seeded to start 25th.
Rally.com.au asked Scott about expectations for Portugal in such a competitive field.
Q: Scott you’re roughly three weeks out from the Rallye de Portugal, the first event on your WRC2 program, how are you feeling?
SP: Incredibly excited is an understatement. It has been a very, very long lead up to this point from when the decision was made so I cant wait to get cracking with some good solid km’s in the car.
Q: We’ve just seen the entry list released for the event, it’s an incredibly impressive collection of cars and drivers entered in WRC2, is that exciting or daunting?
SP: Probably both. It certainly is almost an unprecedented entry list. I count at least 20 national or international Champions contesting WRC2 in this event. It is going to be incredible competition. There wont be much time between first and 20th!
Q: When you announced your WRC2 program you said that it was about challenging yourself and comparing your abilities against international drivers, is it fair to say that based on the quality of entry for Portugal you’ll absolutely know where you stand by the end of this season?
SP: To be honest that is what excites me the most. As a driver you always wonder where you sit in the pecking order, how you rate – all things going well I reckon by the end of this event I will know. We really have nothing to lose, there are a lot of guys on that list that need to or are at least trying hard to build careers – some of those dreams could be dented or even shattered at this one event if they are not good enough. I reckon the pace will be white hot at the start, but the same rules apply – you’ve gotta finish to get a result.
Q: You aren’t testing the Ford Fiesta R5 you’ll drive this year until the week of Portugal, does that put you at a disadvantage to your WRC2 rivals, many of whom have driven these cars for more than a year?
SP: No doubt – in the perfect world you would have years of experience in an R5 but for us that just isn’t to be, but we will have had 100-150km in the car before the start. Once I get used to speed and grip differences to the 2WD Renault Clio I have no doubt that I will get to grips with it pretty quickly as I did with the Clio having never driven front wheel drive before. Hopefully the only questions is how quickly I will adapt and I guess we will find that out on May 22!
Q: Without being able to go out and test, what have you been doing to prepare yourself both mentally and physically?
SP: Whilst a lack of experience in the car is a disadvantage I reckon the fact that Portugal is new for all this year is an advantage for us. The rally itself is run in a completely different region to previous years. I reckon we both write great notes and commit to them and I have always been strong on new roads. It is not going to be an easy task by any stretch of the imagination but I have done an unprecedented amount of work on the recce videos that we have been able to access from the internet and Dale (Moscatt) like normal is working his butt off to ensure we are just as ready from his side.
Q: And I believe you’ve been doing a bit of physical preparation too?
SP: Physically it has been a brutal last month or so – I am the fittest I’ve ever been and I’m eight kilograms lighter than last year. I have an awesome trainer who understands the sport and we have spent a lot of what we do based around concentration and reflexes. I’m definitely feeling ready for the challenge ahead!
The seeded WRC2 entry list for Rally de Portugal is:
- Yazeed Al Rajhi / Michael Orr (Ford Fiesta RRC
- Stephane Lefebvre / Stephane Prevot (Citroen DS3 R5
- Max Rendina / Mario Pizzuti (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X)
- Quentin Giordano / Valentin Sarreaud (Citroen DS3 R5)
- Karl Kruuda / Martin Järveoja (Peugeot 208 T16)
- Craig Breen/ Scott Martin (Peugeot 208 T16)
- Jari Ketomaa / Kaj Lindstrom (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Nicolas Fuchs / Fernando Mussano (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Nasser Al-Attiyah / Matthieu Baumel (Ford Fiesta RRC)
- Pontus Tidemand / Emil Axelsson (Skoda Fabia R5)
- Armin Kremer / Pirmin Winklhofer (Skoda Fabia R5)
- Radik Shaymiev / Maxim Tsvetkov (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Enrico Brazzoli / Maurizio Barone (Subaru Impreza WRX)
- Valeriy Gorban / Volodymyr Korsia (MINI John Cooper Works)
- Eric Camilli / Benjamin Veillas (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Jonathan Hirschi / Vincent Landais (Peugeot 208 T16)
- Anders Grondal / Roger Eilertsen (Citroen DS3 R5)
- Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Skoda Fabia R5)
- Sander Parn / James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Bernardo Sousa / Hugo Magalhães (Peugeot 208 T16)
- Julien Maurin / Nicolas Klinger (Ford Fiesta RRC)
- Martin Koci / Lukas Kostka (Peugeot 208 T16)
- Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari Marshall Clarke (Ford Fiesta RRC)
- Keith Cronin / Stuart Loudon (Citroen DS3 R5)
- Scott Pedder / Dale Moscatt (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Ramón Torres Fuentes / David Vazquez Liste (Ford Fiesta R5)
- Alain Foulon / Gilles Delarche (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X)