After taking part in four World Rally Championship events in 2008, Barry Clark will hope to return to the WRC again for more outings in 2009. Radio's Matt Salisbury spoke to the Scottish driver to reflect on 2008 and ask how things are shaping up for this year...
Barry, you took part in a number of WRC events in 2008. How much did you enjoy that experience?

Barry Clark:
To get out on a World championship event in a World Rally Car has been the aim for a long time and we have been working hard to get there. To actually finally make it last year and get the opportunity to compete against the best in the world in equal machinery was fantastic. We had some great results - three top-ten finishes. I was over-the-moon with that and really happy.
Was there one event or one result that stands out from last year?

No, they were all totally unique for me. It was a three rally programme that got stretched to four when Luis-Perez Companc had to go home suddenly from the Rally Jordan. I had to step in at the last minute there. I had no recce and was straight into the shakedown having only arrived four hours earlier. That was a unique experience. We had a great run though and brought the car home with no damage and we were twelfth overall.

We then went to Turkey, which is a really rough, dry and dusty gravel rally up in the mountains. Again we were learning new things with the car all the time and learning how to drive it. I had never driven a World Rally Car on these different services before and so every rally we did was all chopping changing from the gravel in Turkey to the dry tarmac in Corsica. You have to start again and re-learn everything.

But we had a great run and finishing off on Rally GB with tenth overall was a fantastic result, especially with the way the conditions were in Wales.
Mark Higgins said the conditions on WRGB 2008 were some of the worst he had ever encountered. Would you go along with that?

I have done a few rallies up north where the conditions have been quite bad. The Snowman Rally, which is the first round of the Scottish championship in Inverness in February, is notoriously bad for ice due to the time of year it is run. But it was hard and it was hard to see where the ice was in some places. At points it would be nice and clear and you would just get some momentum going. Then though you would be on black ice and you wouldn't know about it until you tried to touch the brakes and by then it was too late. It was a really, really tough rally but I enjoyed it.
What is happening now for 2009?

We are working hard on it. The championship is struggling a little bit with the withdrawal of Subaru and Suzuki. There are not so many seats available. We are working hard to try and get the money and obviously we had a great year in 2008 and we showed what I can do with no testing. I would love to improve on that this year and carry the momentum forward. But we are still trying to raise budgets and sort a deal.
The current economic climate cannot be helping...

No it certainly doesn't. Everybody is just trying to ride the storm at the moment. But there is still money out there and we are confident we can try and tap into some of that and get back out.




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