McCormack makes it C2R2 in a row Martin McCormack and Phil Clarke took their second victory in the Citroen Racing Trophy on last weekend's Jim Clark International Rally, extending their lead to four points in the 2009 C2R2 Cup. The all...
McCormack makes it C2R2 in a row
Martin McCormack and Phil Clarke took their second victory in the Citroen Racing Trophy on last weekend's Jim Clark International Rally, extending their lead to four points in the 2009 C2R2 Cup.
The all asphalt event certainly suited the powerful C2R2 Max Kit cars, with seventeen fast and furious stages split over Friday evening and Saturday of the Bank Holiday weekend. Northern Irishman McCormack's goal was evident from the start of the event, building a lead of ten seconds over 2008 Champion Jason Pritchard by the end of the second stage, despite catching a car on stage two.
Pritchard and co-driver Andrew Edwards nearly didn't make the rally start though, the young Welshman having had an altercation with a post in the pre-start holding area, after the automatic barrier narrowly missed the rear of his car. The distraction forced him to hit a concrete post, damaging the car's radiator and it was his rival McCormack and Suzuki driver Nick Everard who came to the rescue.
Andrew Hockridge and Rich Mills posted a pair of cracking times through the Duns spectator stages after spinning on the day's opening test. They were quickest of the Citroens here, albeit just half a second clear of McCormack on the first Duns run, a tenth on the second.
Mark Gamble and Steve Link were having a dreadful time on the fell roads of Bothwell and Abbey St Bathans, the rear end of the car unstable and wayward. By the end of the night the Wolverhampton driver was still perplexed by the direction to take on car set-up, also losing out on power as he had not yet switched to the Max engine.
By the close on Friday night though, Pritchard had pulled back time and astonishingly he and McCormack were tied on the same tenth of a second, after nearly three quarters of an hour of flat-out rallying.
The opening stages of Saturday morning heralded more early sunshine, McCormack again setting the pace from Pritchard, who responded now his radiator was fully repaired. But the Welshman had luck against him, losing intercom and a bolt from his gear linkage, caused him to drop back as the day progressed. A 100mph spin also rattled Pritchard, but he managed to claw back some time in the changeable conditions, although McCormack's winning margin was 43 seconds after 150 miles of competition.
Gamble eventually resolved the handling problems and stopped bouncing off the banks, not with a cunning suspension tweak, but the addition of intermediate tyres on the rear of his car. His eventual third place was little solace for the Midlander, now trailing second placed Pritchard by four points in the championship.
He had more luck than Hockridge though, who had a high speed encounter with a gate-post while trying to avoid a baled chicane. The Welshman managed to scrub enough speed off to avoid contact with the bale, instead aiming for an opening into a field. But he clipped the left hand wheel on the post, bending the wishbone and leaving the steering decidedly toed-in. The resulting damage was not repaired fully until much later, mechanics finding a bent hub which caused the brakes to become spongy for several stages.
McCormack's victory brought with it a cheque to the tune of ^a2000 from Citroen Racing, a GBP1000 bonus for his second place in the front wheel drive category on the rally. Pritchard took GBP1000 for second with Gamble taking third place and GBP500 for his perseverance.
The next event in the C2R2 Cup calendar is the Isle of Man International Rally on July 10th & 11th, where the French pocket-rockets should shine again, but you can catch the action from the Jim Clark International Rally on Max Power and Motorsport Mundial from Saturday 20th June. Click HERE for TV listings.
The C2R2 Cup and Citroen Racing Trophy UK are supported by Citroen UK.