Sardinia : Fiesta SportingTrophy - Finish
Barry Clark and Scott Martin have cruised in to take their third Fiesta SportingTrophy International win in as many events at this weekend's Rally d'Italia Sardegna. The Stobart Motorsport supported crew breezed through the event,
winning eleven stages, extending their lead to an imposing nine championship points.
The rough Mediterranean surface once again played havoc on competitors running down the order. For Clark this resulted in two major issues within the first day of competition. During the opening stage of the rally the 24-year-old lost a bolt from the brake calliper on his Stobart Ford Fiesta ST and as a result on stage 3 had lost his brakes completely.
Clark also encountered a puncture during leg 1 on the final 20.36 kilometre Monte Olia test. After diligently practising the tyre changing process, with co-driver Martin prior to the event, the pair lost just over a minute applying the spare, still giving them a commanding one minute 27.5 second lead by the close of leg 1.
Leg 2 offered a mixed bag to FSTi competitors with two stages in the morning loop yellow flagged due to serious accidents within the above running field. For this, all five FSTi crews were given exact notional times for the two stages but for Clark it bared no effect, finishing leg 2 with a dominant three minute lead over his closest rival.
Rally d'Italia Sardegna finished with a demanding six stage leg offering no service. It was always going to be tough for the front-wheel drive Fiesta ST with no service and 54.74 kilometres of competitive distance to contend with; but for Clark it was a walk in the park.
The lad from Aberdeen in Scotland won four of the five competitive stages, after stage 17 was yellow flagged, cementing his dominance over the championship field.
Clark's next event will be round four of the Fiesta SportingTrophy International on the fast-paced, gravel roads of Finland in August.
“The aim coming into this event was to go for the hat-trick of wins in the FST series, and now we have done it! We had some problems on Friday but generally the car has performed and held up very well. Even after losing time on the first day we knew there were still two more long days to go and we just kept our heads down and pushed on. Even when I got ahead and had a good lead I didn't want the others to beat me on the stages so we continued to drive hard; but it was all sensible and in a very controlled manner. We were able to lead the event and still set fastest times. On the last day I was really enjoying it; it was fun to drive the stages and I didn't need to think about things as much. Now we have a fantastic lead in the championship and we are nearly at the half-way point; all the hard work from myself and Scott and the backing from Stobart Motorsport has really paid off.”