NE rally ace Clark impresses in WRC debut

Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen may have won the inaugural World Rally Championship event in Jordan, but the happiest man at the end of the three-day desert battle was Aberdeenshire’s Barry Clark.

Driving a similar Ford Focus World Rally Car to works’ driver Hirvonen, the 25-year-old from Ellon not only finished his debut WRC event in a highly creditable 12th place overall, but just missed out on scoring valuable points for Ford in the Manufacturers’ Championship.

“My primary aim before the start of the rally was to bring the car home undamaged,” Clark, who 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, said today (Sun).

“To not only finish the rally, but to be just outside the top 10 is incredibly encouraging. I’m very pleased. I’ve learned a huge amount about the car during the rally — it’s an awesome piece of kit — and I can’t wait to drive it again later this year.”

Clark, the reigning Fiesta Sporting Trophy International Champion and who became the first Scot since Colin McRae to contest a round of the WRC, will also drive the Focus in Turkey in June, and also Rallye de France and Wales Rally GB.

Hirvonen meanwhile capitalised on a mistake by Citroen’s Dani Sordo in the final 41km stage to win comfortably by 1min 15.7secs, with Chris Atkinson’s Subaru a further 3:45s further back.


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