North-east rally ace Barry Clark ended his first day of World Rally Championship action in a point-scoring position after safely negotiating the opening eight stages of the inaugural Jordan Rally.
The 25-year-old from Ellon, driving his Ford Focus WRC and the first Scot to contest a world event since Colin McRae, kept his cool in the sweltering heat to finish the opening leg in a highly creditable 15th position overall.
“It was difficult out there today as we were working from someone else’s notes and my co-driver Jose Diaz was having to translate them from Spanish into English as we went through the stages,” Clark, who is in position to score one point in the Manufacturers’ Championship, said today (Fri).
“The surface was tricky too and not surprisingly it was very hot. A bit different to back home. I’m just taking it easy though and trying to do a professional job as there’s no pressure on me.
“The Ford Focus is an awesome machine and has been working perfectly from the start, so it’s been really good fun and invaluable experience for me in the car ahead of my next rally in Turkey.”
Aberdeenshire driver Clark had been ready to travel to Jordan as a technician with Ford until he received a last-minute call-up to replace Argentine driver Luis Perez Companc, who had to return home for business reasons.
At the head of the field, Dani Sordo takes a slender 1.1-second lead into Saturday’s stages ahead of his Citroen team-mate and multiple world champ, Sebastien Loeb. Behind the Citroen duo, the Fords of Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikko Hirvonen lie third and fourth, seven seconds and 13 seconds behind Sordo respectively.