Ford Pumas dominate Silverstone Rally

British ace Martin Rowe powered his Rapid Fit Ford Puma to victory in the Silverstone Rally today (Saturday) setting the fastest time on seven of the event's 12 stages to win by a comfortable margin. Ford Pumas claimed four of the top-5 places,...

British ace Martin Rowe powered his Rapid Fit Ford Puma to victory in the Silverstone Rally today (Saturday) setting the fastest time on seven of the event's 12 stages to win by a comfortable margin. Ford Pumas claimed four of the top-5 places, with Rowe leading from start to finish, on the second round of Britain's new Formula Rally championship, to earn his second consecutive win.

Ford's Belgian newcomer to UK rallying Francois Duval showed fine form in the third Puma entered by Ford Racing to beat Rowe's Rapid Fit team mate French ace Patrick Magaud, to the final podium position -- behind Peugeot's second-place man Justin Dale. Reigning Puma 1400 Champion Simon Mauger fought his way up to fifth place -- for the second event in a row -- to earn another two points and finish top privateer.

"It's great to have won the first two rounds of Formula Rally for Ford," said a delighted 29-year old Rowe. "We put a lot of work into pre-event tyre testing with Pirelli as we knew this was going to be a close-fought event. With the heavens opening for the first stage and the mix of gravel and asphalt on the rallysprint course, tyre choice was vital to success in the changeable conditions. We opted for asphalt tyres for most of the day, and the Puma ran perfectly, but it's been a tricky rally with torrential rain followed by bright sunshine."

Philip Dunabin, Engineering Manager at Ford Racing, was pleased to claim a maximum points score in both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships for the second time this year. "The Pumas have run faultlessly all day and we made the best of the variable weather conditions. It's an excellent result for Ford and I'm very happy for Martin, while Patrick picked up points again and 21-year old Duval enjoyed a great introduction to the British rally scene."

The Formula Rally series is open to cars with a maximum engine size of 1.6-litres and the new-for-2001 Ford Puma Super 1600 is a close derivative of the Puma Kit Car, campaigned with success by both Rowe and Magaud last year -- when they were class-winners on international rallies. <pre> RESULTS -- THE SILVERSTONE RALLY

Formula Rally Championship -- Round 2, 9 June 2001

1 Martin Rowe / Chris Wood Ford Puma 17 min 31.3 sec 2 Justin Dale / Andrew Bargery Peugeot 106 17 min 35.9 sec 3 Francois Duval / Patrick Grignet Ford Puma 17 min 41.2 sec 4 Patrick Magaud / Guylene Magaud Ford Puma 17 min 54.8 sec 5 Simon Mauger / Simon Poxon Ford Puma 18 min 03.1 sec 6 Mats Andersson / Claire Mole Proton Satria 18 min 04.0 sec

Championship Positions (after round 2 of 7)

Drivers 1 Martin Rowe 20 points 2 Justin Dale 12 3 Patrick Magaud 7 4 Simon Mauger 4 Francois Duval 4 6 Martin Sansom 3 7 Mats Andersson 2

Manufacturers 1 Ford 20 points 2 Peugeot 12 3 Proton 8 4 Volkswagen 3

Next Round:

Cardiff Rally, South Wales, 11 August.

-Ford-

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