BRC

ITRC: Ford Puma team Jim Clark Rally preview

Ford aims to score its fourth British rally win of 2001 next weekend (2-3 November) when a pair of Rapid Fit Puma Super 1600 rally cars contest the Jim Clark Rally - round six of the all-new Formula Rally championship. This unique rally is ...

Ford aims to score its fourth British rally win of 2001 next weekend (2-3 November) when a pair of Rapid Fit Puma Super 1600 rally cars contest the Jim Clark Rally - round six of the all-new Formula Rally championship. This unique rally is Britain's only closed-road event using normal public highways to make over 100 miles of fast and demanding, all-asphalt special stages. The first team to score three victories this year, Ford leads the manufacturers' championship and currently holds strong second, third and fourth places in the battle for the drivers' crown.

A double-winner in Formula Rally this season, Ford's super-fit Puma driver Martin Rowe is determined to repeat his 2000 triumph of this Scottish event. "We have to win in Scotland this year to boost our championship hopes, so we'll be going absolutely as fast as possible all through this rally. There are 20 points available from the final two rounds, and we aim to claim all of them - and the titles. Last year we won our class with the prototype Puma Super 1600 car and it would be great to mark that anniversary with another win. I know the combination of the Puma and my driving can get the job done.

"The Jim Clark is a proper rally, with an excellent combination of narrow twisty sections and fast, flowing natural stages - all on consistently good surfaces. The first stage on Friday evening is both the longest and in the dark, which should provide a dramatic start to the event. The rally stages should suit the Puma well and I'm looking forward to returning to Scotland," enthuses the confident 29-year old British Rally Champion of 1998.

In Scotland, the second Rapid-Fit Puma will once again be driven by Rowe's regular Ford team mate French ace Patrick Magaud, who thrives on asphalt events. He took third place on his Scottish debut in September and intends to do even better this time. For the seven-round Formula Rally series, 42-year old Magaud is co-driven by his wife Guylene Brun. Both Pumas carry the bright yellow and blue colours of the Ford Motor Company's 'walk-in' fast-fit service operation - Rapid Fit.

The Pumas are prepared and operated from Essex by Boreham-based Ford Racing, and Engineering Manager Philip Dunabin is excited about the penultimate Formula Rally event. "If we can win the Jim Clark, we'll capture the manufacturers' championship crown for Ford with one round remaining. Our Pumas will run a similar suspension set-up to Sanremo and Corsica with slight changes to allow for the more cambered British roads. Martin Rowe is a proven winner there, and Patrick Magaud loves asphalt rallies, so we'll aim to take the crown in style with a 1st & 2nd finish."

Jim Clark Rally, 2 - 3 November 2001 Starting in Kelso and finishing in Duns, the 32nd running of the Jim Clark Memorial Rally will take Formula Rally competitors through 13 special stages, covering a total of 108 miles. First car will leave the starting ramp at 19.00 hrs on Friday, before tackling the 14-mile Merse stage near Charterhall. Saturday's action begins at 07.30 when cars leave Duns for the first of two visits to six stages. Five service halts at the old Charterhall race circuit are scheduled, with surviving cars reaching the finish ramp on Newtown Street, Duns at 15.30 hrs. <pre> Championship Positions (after round 5 of 7) Drivers 1 Justin Dale 38 points. 2 Martin Rowe 30 pts. 3 Francois Duval 14 pts. 4 Patrick Magaud 11 pts. 5 Martin Sansom 9 pts. 6 Mats Andersson 8 pts. 7 Simon Mauger 6 pts. 8 David Henderson 4 pts. 9 Michael Brew 3 pts. 10 Garry Jennings 2pts. Paul Wedgbury 2 pts. 12 Rory Galligan 1pt. David Higgins 1 pt.

Manufacturers 1 Ford 87 points. 2 Peugeot 85 pts. 3 Proton 35 pts. 4 Volkswagen 18 pts.

-Ford Racing and Engineering-

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Series BRC , Other rally