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JWRC: Q&A: Barry Clark - EXCLUSIVE

2 October 2006

by Rob Wilkins


Stobart VK's Barry Clark has been a busy boy this season, taking in the Junior WRC and the Fiesta Sporting Trophy International at the same time. In addition to that he has also been 'strutting his stuff' in the 2006 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship. Crash.net Radio caught up with the Scotsman recently to chat about his year to date, which has included some notable successes, namely three rookie class JWRC 'wins' in France, Germany and Finland...


Q:
Barry, you are competing in the Junior WRC this season and doing the BRC - both under the Stobart VK banner. Let's start with the former, how have you found it to date, because this is your first year in the Junior WRC series isn't it?

Barry Clark:
Yeah, that is right it is my first year in the JWRC. It got off to the worst possible start in Catalunya with that accident there and the tragic consequences of that [which resulted in the death of Aaron Burkart's co-driver, Jorg Bastruck]. Throughout the rest of the year though we have picked ourselves up and got on with the job. We have put in some quick times in our little Group N car and our stages times are even quicker than a few of the S1600 cars in the JWRC. To be sitting where we are just now - currently leading the rookie championship, we are over the moon with that.

Q:
I believe you have just one more event to go in the JWRC on Wales Rally GB, what are you hoping to do there?

BC:
At the moment Wales Rally GB is a bit of a clash as it is a round of the MSA British Rally Championship and the JWRC. At the moment with two rounds of the British championship still to go, we don't actually know which car we are going to use for Rally GB yet. So, we will have to wait until after the Trackrod [which takes place this coming Saturday] and see what happens there, before we make a decision as to which car we will use on the Rally GB.

Q:
Of course as well as doing the JWRC, you have been doing the Fiesta Sporting Trophy International [FSTi] at the same time, has that made it more difficult?

BC:
Yeah, it has made it really quite hard on a number of occasions this year, because both championships follow slightly different rules. With the JWRC being an FIA championship though, obviously the rules for that, are the ones we have to follow predominantly. So it has lead to a few queries and maybe times when the regulations haven't been thought out properly between the Fiesta championship and the JWRC. On the whole though, it has worked pretty well - although it has been pretty hard on events having to watch two championships and to try and make sure we are doing our best in both of them. Overall however, I think we have done a pretty good job this year.

Q:
Tell us about the BRC this season too and how that has been going with the Fiesta. You are currently joint 14th overall in the overall BRC and second in the BRC S1600 championship.

BC:
We have been using the S1600 Fiesta in the BRC and it has been going great for us. We got off to a fantastic start on the Pirelli Rally, we came out top. Since then it has been onto the tarmac rounds. We have been doing a lot of work over the year as well developing the car. So, the car has come on leaps and bounds since the start of the year and we are really pleased with that. I think we are sitting second at the moment in the championship. We are a good bit behind Guy Wilks - but we will just have to go out and beat him on the Trackrod and hopefully that will put us into the best possible position going into the Wales Rally GB.

Q:
Have you got a good rivalry with Guy Wilks and Kris Meeke, who are of course competing in the JWRC as well?

BC:
Yeah, I know both Guy and Kris very well, they are both great lads and to be able to compete against them is fantastic. The level of machinery they are in compared to mine is not quite the same - it is not quite a level playing field. But with Roman Kresta however, being in the same Fiesta as me [in the BRC], it gives me an excellent level to aim for. If I can be on Roman's pace in the same car, then I know I am doing something pretty right.

Q:
Has it been useful working alongside BP Ford WRC test driver, Roman Kresta?

BC:
Yeah, absolutely fantastic - with the Fiesta being a reasonably new car, Roman has done a lot of testing with it and I have been along there with him and learning. It is just fantastic to get any knowledge and feedback I can from him. He hasn't really sat with me to develop my driving or anything, but I have been in with him in the car and seen what they are doing in the tests and that. It is all good, it all helps.

Q:
What are you plans and hopes for 2007?

BC:
We are working on a number of things and we will just have to see what comes off. It is the silly season at the moment and you can't really speak about any of it in particular. But things are looking reasonably positive. So hopefully if we can continue and find some good backing, hopefully Stobart will come with us again... I am looking forward to it.

Q:
Are you hoping to do the JWRC again next year?

BC:
Yeah, the JWRC would be fantastic to get into again. If we can get there again in a proper S1600 car, then that would just be stepping it up that little bit, which is what you need.


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