Belfast Telegraph

Fisher fit and ready for red-hot Greek test

By Sammy Hamill

The heat is on for Alastair Fisher but he has done everything he can to prepare for it.

The 23-year-old Trillick driver leads the World rally championship support series, the WRC Academy, heading into round two, the Acropolis Rally in Greece, and he knows it is going to be hot work to stay in front.

Survival of the fittest — both car and man — is the key on a rally notorious for the high temperatures, thick dust and rocky roads.

“There’s a certain anticipation with doing this rally for the first time with everyone talking about the heat and the rough roads but I feel I’m ready,” he said ahead of the start in in Athens this evening.

Fisher has been making use of the Sports Institute facilities at the University of Ulster — he graduated in construction engineering and management there last year — including their climate chamber to prepare himself for Greece.

“I am fitter than I have ever been and as prepared for the heat as I can be but I know it is going to be a punishing event with temperatures inside the car as high as 50 degrees centigrade,” he explained.

Fisher leads the all-Ford Fiesta R2 Academy championship by eight points after his victory on the opening round in Portugal.

“Building on my championship lead is the target and to do that I’ll need to be consistent and do my best to avoid any problems on what is regarded as the roughest, toughest event of the year,” he said.

“If there’s a chance to push on to get the win then I’ll look to do it, but I know there are a few drivers who didn’t have such a good opening round who will be aiming to make an impression in here.”

Up at the front of the entry list, Ford’s former World champion Petter Solberg and his Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson are currently lying in second place in the WRC standings, 18 points behind the Citroen of leader and eight times champion Sebastien Loeb.

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