As his home city of Aberdeen prepares to host the latest round of the Scottish Rally Championship, the Granite City Rally, Barry Clark will today (Fri) become the first Scot since Colin McRae to contest a round of the World Rally Championship.
The 25-year-old Ellon-born driver has been handed the opportunity of a lifetime by Ford world rally boss Malcolm Wilson after first-choice driver Luis Perez Companc was forced to return to Argentina on business.
Clark, the reigning Fiesta Sporting Trophy International Champion, had flown out to Jordan fully expecting to do no more than work as a mechanic on Companc’s Ford Focus RS WRC 07.
But no sooner had he arrived than he was told he would definitely sit-in for Companc and tackle the whole three-day Jordan Rally.
“It’s amazing,” Clark, who first drove a Focus at the Chatsworth Rallyday last year and has tackled pre-event shakedown work for the factory Ford team but never competed at the highest level in a front-line car, admitted yesterday.
“I couldn’t believe it when I arrived. I’d had a call from Malcolm to explain the situation. He said there was a chance I could be driving. But to get here and be told I would be driving is just incredible.
“Clark’s entry to the WRC though has merely been brought forward. As part of his prize for winning the Fiesta series, the talented young Scot was scheduled to contest a three-round WRC programme with Ford starting in Turkey in June, and including Rallye de France and Wales Rally GB.
“This is a good chance for Barry to get familiar with the car before Turkey,” Wilson explained. “But it will be a tricky rally, particularly as he did not do the recce. I’m sure he’ll just go out and use this as a high-speed recce and as a chance to get some experience of the car.”
Clark’s appearance in the Jordan Rally coincided with the first public appearance of shamed FIA president Max Mosley following the revelations about his private life. He attended the Jordan Rally dinner with HRH Prince Feisal on the shores of the Dead Sea.