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He was a works rally driver with Ford, MG Rover and Vauxhall, but 25 years on Malcolm Wilson was made to remember that rally driving isn't as easy as it might look. Running as the zero car on the M-Sport Stages in Cumbria, Wilson crashed a Ford Escort RS1800 heavily, and doing major damage in the process. “I ran a little bit wide coming out of a corner,” Wilson said after the crash, on the fourth of six stages. “I got a wheel on the grass. I wasn’t worried about that, it didn’t bother me and I just kept accelerating and going up through the gears. I think we were into fourth when we hit this hole in the grass. “It was nothing really, just a small thing that you might have dug to drain some water away. But going into that ripped the wheel out of my hand. Once that happened, I knew that was it.

Malcolm Wilson's Escort looked neat and tidy before the M-Sport boss had his way with it.

“That turned the car off the road and we went straight in to the tree stumps – that was where we did the damage. We hit one of those and the car rolled a couple of times. “I was able to drive the car out, but the shell is, to be honest, looking a bit sore.” The rally was won by his son, Matthew, in a Ford Fiesta WRC, but he was withdrawn before the final control. Frank Bird won the rally by 24 seconds ahead of Hugh Hunter, after the Cumbrian team decided to withdraw its three drivers (Wilson in a current-spec Fiesta WRC, and WRC2 regulars Rhys Yates and Adrien Fourmaux) “in fairness to the competition” after the end of the final stage. Bird, driving a Ford Focus WRC ’07, took the win in the first rally in the UK following the COVID-19 crisis.

Matthew Wilson won the event, was was withdrawn before the final control.

Final Results: 1 Matthew Wilson/Stuart Loudon (Ford Fiesta WRC) 35:46 2 Rhys Yates/James Morgan (Ford Fiesta R5) 36:22 3 Adrien Fourmaux/Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta Mk2) 36:29 4 Frank Bird/Jack Morton (Ford Focus WRC07) 36:59 5 Hugh Hunter/Dale Bowen (Ford Fiesta R5) 37:23 6 Sam Moffett/James Fulton (Ford Fiesta R5) 37:25 7 Cathan McCourt/Barry Mc Nulty (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk2) 37:26 8 Charles Payne/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta WRC) 37:34 9 Joseph McGonigle/Ciaran Geaney (Ford Fiesta R5 Mk2) 37:36 10 Tom Williams/Jamie Edwards (Ford Fiesta R5) 37:52 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZynOfD7u_E&feature=youtu.be
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