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The team will face one of their toughest tests yet as they compete on thick snow and ice whilst battling against temperatures well below freezing point. Michelin spiked tyres, shovels, emergency lighting, foil capes and ration packs are just a few of the additional items that the MG ZR will be equipped with for the outing.
The Arctic Rally is just one of the events that Tony will take part in this year. Rob Oldaker, managing director, MG Sport & Racing explains: "Both parties have benefited a great deal from this partnership and Tony did a fantastic job in the MG ZR last year, the highlight being his class win at the Network Q Rally of GB. The Group N car is effectively the same car as a customer can purchase from one of our showrooms, so it really shows the car’s ability and stamina. I’m in no doubt that the Arctic Rally will be a real contest but I wish Tony and the team every success."
Tony has previously competed in the Arctic Rally and is relishing the chance of returning in the MG. He said: "The Arctic Lapland Rally is one of the most exciting events on the calendar and rarely before have I seen such a strong field. In our class alone there are 12-15 ultra competitive cars. Of course taking on the Scandinavians on their home ground is always incredibly tough, but you learn a lot from them. I just hope it's not going to be -35°C as it was this week!"
Des Kelly who takes on the role of co-driver will join the Formula One panellist. Des, who works as Deputy Editor at the Daily Mirror, has previous experience of co-driving in various rallies including the Network Q Rally of GB and the Arctic Rally with Tony three years ago. Commenting on taking part he said: "There are few experiences in motor sport more exhilarating than the Arctic Rally. When you're travelling across snow and ice at speeds in excess of 100mph you have to concentrate all the way because there is a very fine line between success and failure. I've been in this rally before, and learned a few lessons the hard way – like not trying to push the car without gloves on since fingers stick to the freezing metal. But where else would you be taught how to kill a reindeer to survive just in case the Rescue team is unable to reach you and you're stuck in temperatures of -40°C. Our first aim is to finish safely. Then it's to win our class. But it'd be nice to beat Mika Hakkinen on the way too."
The Artic Rally takes place 23-25 January.
A special programme will be filmed giving an insight into the Arctic Rally with a particular focus on Tony and Des’s progress in the Group N MG ZR to be shown on Sky Sports. The viewing schedule is yet to be confirmed.
Issued by MG Rover Group Communications