Barry Clark and co-driver Scott Martin have continued their dominance of the 2007 International Fiesta SportingTrophy Championship by scoring their fourth consecutive win at this weekend’s Neste Oil Rally Finland. Backed by Stobart Motorsport this now puts Clark in a commanding position in the championship with just three rounds remaining.
The event was a testing one for FSTi competitors with its fast paced roads and massive crests pushing the Ford Fiesta ST to the limits. Over 360 competitive kilometres were covered using some of the most famous gravel roads in the world, which surrounded Rally HQ in Jyväskylä.
The pair were comfortably winning each stage until Saturday morning when a power steering failure on the Juupajoki test saw them lose 6.6 seconds to nearest rival, Lithuanian Vytautas Baranauskas. The problem however was rectified in service and the Stobart Fiesta ST was back to full running order.
Unfortunately for the Scotsman his problems weren’t over when he burst a radiator landing awkwardly over a fast crest just 500 metres from the end of stage 15. This meant retirement from leg 2 and possibly from the event, but with his DGM crew putting in a sterling effort to change the radiator and front panel overnight and check the engine was in good working order, he rejoined leg 3 under SupeRally rules.
Adding a twist to the situation, Baranauskas retired on the same stage meaning they both restarted leg 3 with the same gap from the previous day. This allowed Clark to cruise home to victory over the final three stages which made up Rally Finland’s final leg.
Barry Clark said:
“It feels great to have another victory in the Fiestas. I thought we had no chance after bursting the radiator but when we heard Baranauskas was out on the same stage I knew we were right back in it. The car just lifted at the rear and landed right on the nose. For most crests we were taking them flat but this one dropped off quite a bit and just flicked the back up so there was really nothing we could do. Now we can head to Germany with the chance of winning the championship which is something I didn’t really think could happen so soon. I have been keeping right on top of my training back at home and I’m really starting to feel a difference in both fitness and concentration levels in the car. The sights are now set on Germany and I’m really looking forward to doing well there.”