Ford's French ace Patrick Magaud recorded a remarkable debut on the Scottish Rally today (Saturday) powering his Rapid Fit Puma Super 1600 rally car to a fine third place finish in the fourth round of the all-new Formula Rally Championship. With...
Ford's French ace Patrick Magaud recorded a remarkable debut on the Scottish Rally today (Saturday) powering his Rapid Fit Puma Super 1600 rally car to a fine third place finish in the fourth round of the all-new Formula Rally Championship. With three rounds of the series to run, Ford holds strong second places in the drivers' and manufacturers' championships.
Despite his inexperience of this event, 42-year old Magaud, co-driven by his wife Guylène Brun, soon settled into his stride. After a cautious start, he was quickly on the attack, taking advantage of the flatter and drier Castle O'er stage to record fourth fastest time among the 12 Formula Rally Super 1600 competitors.
Returning to the Ae and Windy Hill stages for a second time late in the day, Magaud reduced his times dramatically to storm ahead of his nearest rival, Martin Sansom and claim third place as VW-debutant David Higgins suffered a puncture.
Ford's Frenchman was happy with his debut in Scotland. "I think that tackling these classic forest stages for the first time is very hard. Most other drivers here have more experience of this rally and it makes a big difference. Doing the recce at low-speed is one thing, but driving flat out on the rally is another matter entirely!"
Ford Puma team-mate and championship leader coming to Scotland, Martin Rowe did not have a day to remember, retiring with a mysterious engine problem on stage three. "Suddenly the engine lost all power and we struggled to do 10 mph in second gear. The water temperature went up and we smelt oil, so we decided to park and switch off. There were no leaks under the car and an hour later when the mechanics arrived, the engine fired up first time. The team is studying the data but don't yet know what really happened. It was all very strange and frustrating, but there are three rallies to go and 30 points to play for, so I still have high hopes of capturing the drivers' crown."
Philip Dunabin, Engineering Manager at Ford Racing, was philosophical after a hard day's rallying for the team. "It was a steep learning curve for Patrick on his first visit to these Scottish stages that the Brits know so well. He used too much left-foot braking early on, but then put in a good solid performance to go faster and overhaul others, claiming a thoroughly well deserved third place. That was a welcome reward for the team after a tough day for Martin. We still hold a strong position in the manufacturers' championship and are determined to win that title."
The Formula Rally series is open to cars with a maximum engine size of 1.6-litres (1600cc) 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 both class-winners on international rallies. <pre> RESULTS - SCOTTISH RALLY Formula Rally Championship - Round 4, 15 September 2001
1 Justin Dale / Andrew Bargery Peugeot GTi 0 hr 58 min 30.1 sec. 2 Mats Andersson / Claire Mole Proton Satria 1 hr 00 min 02.3 sec 3 Patrick Magaud / Guylène Brun Ford Puma 1 hr 01 min 44.9 sec. 4 Martin Sansom / Phil Wells Peugeot GTi 1 hr 01 min 56.3 sec 5 Paul Wedgbury / Neil Dashfield Citroen Saxo 1 hr 02 min 36.3 sec 6 David Higgins / Mike Gibson VW Polo 1 hr 04 min 33.1 sec
Championship Positions (after round 4 of 7)
1 Justin Dale 32 points. 2 Martin Rowe 26 pts. 3 Patrick Magaud 11 pts. 4 Mats Andersson 8 pts. 5 Martin Sansom 6 pts. 6 = Simon Mauger & Francois Duval 4 pts. 8 Michael Brew 3 pts. 9 = Garry Jennings & Paul Wedgbury 2 pts. 11 = Rory Galligan & David Higgins 1 pt.
1 Peugeot 70 points. 2 Ford 65 pts. 3 Proton 35 pts. 4 Volkswagen 16 pts.