With a weekend off from the Formula 1 paddock, Tom Cary, F1 correspondent for the Daily Telegraph
newspaper, embarked on his second ever national rally on Saturday as co-driver to broadcaster Tony Jardine.
Ludlow provided the backdrop for the Woodpecker Stages Rally, where Jardine and Cary finished second in class N3 in their Castrol-backed Ford Fiesta ST.
Jardine challenged Cary this year to obtain his international navigators' licence, with the aim of entering Rally Scotland, the final round of the highly-popular Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which is currently led by British driver Kris Meeke. If they are successful in Perthshire, the ultimate goal is then to compete in next February's World Rally Championship event in the icy wastelands of Sweden.
Having now secured three signatures on his licence, but requiring a total of five to reach international status, Cary still has a great deal of hard work ahead of him. However, the team's result of 45th overall on the Woodpecker takes him one step closer to taking part at IRC level.
"It's been great this weekend, we hit the ground running. I had forgotten a few things as it's been a while since the Swansea Bay Rally but it all came back fairly quickly,” said Cary. “There were a couple of big accidents on the second stage which was a bit nerve-wracking and we went past an upside down car, but Tony did very well.
“Also, I was a little late on some of the pace note calls but the timing is coming back and I'm generally feeling more confident. I have learnt here that the first rule of being a co-driver is to remember your watch, and I managed to forget that - I was very kindly loaned one!”
Despite problems engaging fourth gear for most of the rally, Jardine was pleased with the ProSpeed prepared Ford Fiesta and its performance on Kumho tyres.
“We were hampered by a reluctant fourth gear throughout the event which cost us some time and the brakes also overheated this morning, so they had to be bled. However, we soared in the later stages as Tom's confidence increased,” Jardine continued.
“His competitive edge is now starting to show through which is why we achieved such a great result together. As always, it was a pleasure to work with the ProSpeed team as they are such a professional outfit and the Fiesta kept going and got us to the finish.”
Although Jardine often takes part in rallies and has over thirty years of rallying experience, the motorsport pundit also enjoys circuit racing and especially the prestigious annual Goodwood Revival meeting.
Jardine will be taking part in this year's event on 18-20 September, driving a Mini Cooper S and a race-prepared Ferrari 250 Lusso.
The Castrol / Daily Telegraph team meanwhile will be reunited again on the Premier Stages on Saturday 24 October.