RACC RALLY CATALUNYA, SALOU, SPAIN - OCTOBER 2nd/4th BIRD 'STONE-WALLED' IN SPAIN Penrith rally driver Paul Bird saw his hopes of a top ten finish disappear just a few stages from home when he was forced to retire on day three of the RACC...
RACC RALLY CATALUNYA, SALOU, SPAIN - OCTOBER 2nd/4th
BIRD 'STONE-WALLED' IN SPAIN
Penrith rally driver Paul Bird saw his hopes of a top ten finish disappear just a few stages from home when he was forced to retire on day three of the RACC Rally Catalunya at the weekend.
Along with Northallerton co driver Ian Windress, the pair were making their foreign debut in the World Rally Championship in the factory-backed Munchi's Ford Team alongside Argentine driver Federico Villagra and straight away, Bird justified his 'A' seeding with a clear run through day one to hold 13th at the end of the leg.
Gaining confidence in the Ford Focus WRC, the pair gained a place the following day as they homed in on the top ten on the Spanish tarmac around the Costa Dorada city of Salou.
However, just as they had an impressive result in their sights, an error on the short Serra D'Almos stage saw them have to retire in bizarre circumstances following an overshoot as Bird explained:
"Everything was going great and we were getting faster but then on SS15, the notes didn't quite work and we ended up overshooting a corner. When I realised I wasn't going to make it, I took a narrow escape road and it was just a case of spinning the car round. But just as I did, this wall on which some spectators were sitting on collapsed and blocked the road so that meant we couldn't continue. We tried to clear a path but one guy had hurt his leg and was in the way so we had to park it up whilst the medics saw to him."
Despite his misfortune, the Cumbrian has vowed to be back and contest more WRC events next season.
"Competing against the likes of Loeb and Sordo is where I want to be and it has been a great experience, in fact it's the best rally I've ever done. Thanks to M-Sport for their help in sorting the entry and I hope to be back soon."