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Barry Clark looks to Isle of Man.

17.07.2006: Barry Clark looks to Isle of Man.

Clark puts problems at home behind him.

Scotsman Barry Clark canít wait for the next round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship as the series takes in its second tarmac rally of the year with Rally Isle of Man.

Despite having lost his lead of the S1600 class of the BRC at his home event, the Jim Clark Rally, due to problems with his Fiesta, the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team driver sits just five points adrift of the class points lead heading to the third round of the championship.

"Our championship position is not too bad considering where we finished in the Jim Clark," says Clark. "The Manx is a long rally in terms of the British Rally Championship and it could well be one of attrition Ė itíll be interesting to see how it plays out."

Clark entered the Jim Clark Rally with the lead of the S1600 championship thanks to a tactical drive for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team in the season opening Pirelli International Rally.

Things were not to go as wanted as Fridayís stages of the event based on the tarmac roads around Kelso, south east of Edinburgh, saw Clark hampered by a misfire from his car which was later diagnosed as being due to a sub-optimal engine map.

"We spent the Tuesday after the Jim Clark testing and we got the map perfect so we wonít be expecting any issues like that again," says Clark. "We worked on set-up as well and did a fair bit of work on the car, making good improvements for the Manx."

The Isle of Man provides stages which are a real challenge for drivers and Clark canít wait to be out in action on the event which runs from August 3-5.

"I love it over there," he says. "Just everything about the event; the atmosphere is superb, the stages are fast and challenging and overall everything about it is fantastic. Youíre flat out at 110mph in sixth with 10 foot banks alongside you either side, which is something that really concentrates the mind!"

Clarkís Jim Clark Rally ended prematurely with a clutch problem, but before that he had set stage times within shout of his experienced team-mate, former WRC driver and works BP Ford World Rally Team test driver, Roman Kresta.

"It was frustrating not to finish the rally but we showed good pace when it was going well. On the fifth stage we were only a second away from Romanís time, which I was happy about," says Clark.

Clarkís S1600 Ford Fiesta is early in its development cycle and the potential of both car and driver is clear to see for any seasoned observer. That Clark took victory on the season-opener shows that he will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Following Rally Isle of Man Clark will be out in action with back-to-back events. First is OMV ADAC Rallye Deutschland on August 11-13, then itís Neste Oil Rally Finland on August 18-20. Both are rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship where Clark will be driving for the Stobart VK Rally Team in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship and the Fiesta SportingTrophy International. Clark then returns to the BRC with the Ulster International Rally on September 1-2.

Further information on Barry Clark available at www.clarkrallysport.com  

Further informational on Stobart Motorsport available at www.stobartmotorsport.com  

 

- Andy Stobart -

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17.07.2006 / MaP

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