Ford boss still has what it takes
- 31st August 2006, 8:32am
Wilson shrugged off a two minute ‘Malcolm Wilson' penalty issued by WA Developments boss Andrew Tinkler to win the 14 stage event. Wilson was joined by Paul Ben and John Marshall on the winners' rostrum.
The M-Sport boss, driving a Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team liveried Focus as driven by son Matthew Wilson in the FIA World Rally Championship, was immediately on the pace and put his vast experience to great use. He set the fastest stage time on all 14 stages, with his times equaled on two of the stages by Paul Ben.
There was a strong Stobart flavour to the tarmac event with Eddie Stobart Ltd MD William Stobart also out in action. A previous multiple winner in the rally, William Stobart's 2006 run did not go to plan and an off on the first stage meant he was unable to complete the event competitively. Once his car was retrieved from its resting place, it continued for the final two loops as a second course car.
“A disappointing day for me,” said Stobart. “I went off about six miles in to the first stage this morning. I was just a bit too quick into a corner with trees over hanging it making it slippery. The car slid of and came to rest in a steep sided ditch. I think we did more damage getting the car out than we did sliding off.
The M-Sport team managed to get the car straightened out so that we could go out as course car behind Barry on the second and third loop of stages.”
The first car to take to each of the stages was one from the Stobart Motorsport fleet too, with Barry Clark, fresh from his FIA Junior World Rally Championship Rookie class and Fiesta SportingTrophy International wins on Neste Oil Rally Finland, using the event as a test for the following weekend's Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally, the fourth round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.
“The guys from Stobarts kindly asked me to drive the course car on the event,” explained Clark. “We used this to prepare the car prior to the Ulster rally this weekend coming and tried all sorts of tyre combinations.
“I had a combination of co-drivers too as my normal co-driver Scott Martin has been away for the weekend, so Glenn Paterson was in the seat for the morning stages and Bonnie Stephenson from WA Developments was with me this afternoon.”
It was no mere demonstration run from Clark as he evaluated tyres and set-up. “GP and I had a bit of a close moment this morning when I clipped the front wing turning in just a bit too soon on a right hander,” explained Clark. “Apart from that we have had a clean run today.”
Stobart rally teams will be in action again this coming weekend with the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team debuting their Ford Focus WRC06s with Matthew Wilson and Luis Perez Companc in Rally Japan. Mark Higgins and Julian Reynolds are contesting the Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally for the Stobart VK Subaru Rally Team whilst Barry Clark and Roman Kresta are entered in the BRC event for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team.
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