WRC » 4 December 2006
Q&A: Mark Higgins – EXCLUSIVE.
by Rob Wilkins
Three-time British Rally champion, Mark Higgins got a chance to take on the 'big boys' on the Rally GB at the weekend, having secured a one-off drive to use a Ford Focus WRC car.
Although Mark was forced out on day two he shone prior to his exit - setting seven top ten stages times from a possible eight and he was on course to finish eighth and score a point for much of the event. Here he speaks exclusively to Crash.net Radio at the end of day two on Saturday and reflects on his outing in Wales and his year as a whole, which saw him once again take the BRC title…
Mark, Rally GB was a good chance in a WRC car for you. Unfortunately it ended prematurely. Talk us through what happened.
We had a good first day, our plans were to be in top ten and that would have been great. We were eighth after the first day and we were looking forward to Saturday's stages.
Unfortunately on the second stage in the morning [SS8], we had a problem with the turbo and dropped boost and going into the next stage [SS9] we had to drive through it with no turbo boost, which was criminal it felt so slow - two cars passed us and we dropped about 5 minutes. Unfortunately, the oil pressure was dropping and after communication with the team, it was decided by all that we weren't going to get much further - and we pulled the car up on the road section on the way back in.
It was a real shame because this rally is always a rally of attrition, especially when the weather conditions are like they are and who knows where we could have been. But there are plenty of ifs and buts in rallying. I have really enjoyed the opportunity I have had and would like to thank Steve Perez for letting us use his car.
It was looking positive wasn't it? You were running in the points and were setting good times - something that was all the more remarkable, given, you have been using a Group N car for most of the year in the BRC…
Yeah as I say we were in the points straight away and for us that was great. It is very hard to come into a rally like this with a WRC car – this is the 16th round in the championship and a lot of them have been doing it all year. It is very hard to do a one-off. We are a private team, this is a great private team, but it is difficult to keep up with the works boys. We were all happy and everybody was up for a good result. We were all enjoying it and it was just great to be out here with all the World Rally boys and be amongst them.
You have to take the positives from this don't you really? In terms of the times and in light of your success in the BRC and winning the championship again, it is mission accomplished in that sense?
Yeah that is the thing we can't be too despondent. We have had an excellent year, Rory and I. It was a new partnership and we have worked very well together. It would have been great to finish on a high. It is a shame to finish like this because you carry this forward to the new year - but there have been plenty of good memories and plenty of good thins on Friday and Saturday morning. Just to get an opportunity to drive these cars is incredible anyway and to be able to be amongst the WRC boys was an added bonus.
Talk us through your year in the BRC, which started with the Pirelli Rally in May…
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