Penrith rally driver Paul Bird saw off some strong opposition to win the Cartersport Jack Frost Stages Rally at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire on Sunday.

Driving the Vent Axia and Kick Energy sponsored Subaru WRC S9 along with Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress, the pair were pushed all the way by double winners Chris Wise and Tracey Taylor-West in their MG Metro 6R4, but Bird emerged victorious by 34 seconds after eight stages.

With no problems to report on the TEG Sport-run car all day, Bird eased off as wintry showers arrived late in the day but a steady run through the final couple of stages saw him clinch his inaugural win on the Darlington and District Motor Club event.

"After finishing second on the Christmas Stages a few weeks ago I was determined to win today," said Bird. "There were some good drivers and Chris Wise in particular kept us on our toes all day.

"The weather caused us a few problems late in the day but I'm delighted to win and hope this bodes well for the season ahead. Now I've won an event I'm hoping my Superbike riders can do likewise in the world championship."

Bird's next outing is on Rallye Sunseeker at the end of February for the opening round of the Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship.

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