Britain's Barry Clark enjoyed a 'dream' outing in Turkey last weekend, en-route to finishing in the top-ten on his first 'proper' outing in a World Rally Car.

Clark, who was drafted in at the last minute to compete in Jordan in April, eventually finished twelfth overall there, despite missing the reconnaissance. This time though he benefited from thorough preparation and together with new co-driver Paul Nagle put in a mature performance to ensure he completed every single stage and gained maximum experience with his Focus RS WRC07.

In the end he set some stage times that were under two seconds a kilometre off the vastly more experienced top WRC crews and also picked up the final manufacturers' point for the Munchi's Ford World Rally Team, which was very much the 'icing on the cake'.

"This has been a dream rally for me. We set out with the intention of getting to the end and to finish inside the top-10 is amazing," he reflected.

"The plan was to stay neat and tidy and that's exactly how it went and I think that really was the key to our success.

"We did have a few scares though on the final stage when the water temperature light came on and we hit a large rock which took a chunk out of the wheel but luckily we made it back to the finish without any dramas.

"This result has helped immensely with my experience and confidence and it's highlighted that I need to make my pacenotes more accurate with the faster speeds of these amazing world rally cars."

Federico Villagra meanwhile finished one place in front in the sister Munchi's Ford WRT car and 'Coyote' kept his nose clean throughout. The only issues for the Argentine were a cracked intercooler on day 1 and the loss of full use of the brakes on Saturday's 22.4 kilometre Phaselis 2 test where he dropped over one and a half minutes to the leaders.

"We started off this rally with everything feeling good. The car was perfect and my feeling with it was great but my times were slower than I thought they would be," added Villagra. "But I knew it would be a tough event and didn't want to push anymore than I should. Then the mechanics made some changes to the roll bar and it transformed the handling.

"The times improved towards the second half of the rally and by the final day there was no real reason to push hard. We had reached a good overall position and I concentrated on not making any mistakes.

"It was important for me to get more points here and, together with our second driver for this event Barry Clark, we have strengthened our position in the manufacturers' championship."

The Munchi's Ford WRT now has 19 points on the board and with Suzuki failing to score, the gap between the two has increased from 6 points to 9. The Argentine squad now has four events remaining in its ten-round campaign and the next rally, Rally Finland, sees Luis Perez Companc joining Villagra as they take on the challenge of the ultra-fast Finnish roads.

 

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