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GP Week : Issue 144
bounds straightaway. it was definitely the right decision. Why was the Fiesta such a neat car? The (old 2-litre) ST was just such an easy car to drive. It was absolutely perfect for any young guy who wanted to start rallying, a very easy car to drive. It still had good power, good performance, good suspension, dampers, just a very good all round package to get to learn what rallying was all about. “I adapted to it really quickly – with the newer Fiesta R2, you are getting in to something more like a proper rally car. You’ve now got a sequential gearbox, dampers are improved, its just a better all round package really. The engine is down to 1600cc but its got a lot more power, its more like a Super 2000 car the way it revs – OK, nowhere near as much power but it has the same characteristics of trying to get the engine sweet. It was a great step up from the ST car. It was definitely progress.” While learning his way round international motorsport in the Fiesta R2, Craig’s family bought a Fiesta Super 2000 car in order to widen his experiences. Was the Super 2 a huge step forward? “It was really big for me. I’d never driven a four wheel-drive, even a Group N car, before that. So it was straight from the R2 car into Super 2000, just four days before the 2010 Galway International. We had one day test and finished second overall. The Super 2000 is a more physically demanding car compared to anything else I’ve ever driven. I had to ‘up the ante’ with my training, and work a lot more on my upper body skills. Speed is probably the biggest thing – everything is happening so much faster, your reactions have to be quicker. You have to get used to how much braking you actually have and get the most from the brakes. Many things to work on and many things I know we still have to work on. I think it was only I would say until half way through the 2011 season by the Barum Rally in the Czech Republic that was when I started to make really good progress with the Super 2000 car. Its taken me a full year and a half to get my head round the thing.“ What has the Academy taught you that you never expected? “Its taught me to plan myself better, plan your event better, plan your attack better, plan your strategy, that’s probably the biggest thing. Before we didn’t really have much of a plan. There was no structure in my career. It was just, ok we’ll go to this rally. We’ll put the entry in and we’ll go there. “Now I’ve had to plan the way I approach everything, it’s taught me quite well and its come across nicely into the stuff I do outside the Academy rallies with my own car – the