24 Apr 08
Scotsman Barry Clark will drive for the Munchi’s World Rally Team in Jordan in place of Luis Perez Companc who had to withdraw from the event at the last minute.
Clark, 25, winner of the 2007 Fiesta SportingTrophy International, was asked to stand in for Perez Companc after the Argentinean had to return home for business reasons.
Clark had originally expected to be working as a mechanic in Jordan on the Munchi’s team car of Federico Villagra. Instead, he’s trying to get to grips with Perez Companc’s identical car and a new partnership with Jose Dias - the stand-in co-driver for the Munchi’s team.
“When I’m not competing I help the Ford team and I was due to be working on the rear-left of Villagra’s car this weekend, but late Tuesday Malcolm gave me a ring, explained the situation and told me to pack my overalls and licence just in case, ” said Clark. “I was at the airport on Wednesday afternoon when he called again and told me I’d be starting the rally. I couldn’t believe it at first, I was over the moon.”
Clark arrived in Jordan early on Thursday morning and drove his car for the first time at the Shakedown test. With such limited preparation time, he is realistic about his chances on the rally: “With no recce I’ve really been thrown in at the deep end. It’s my first time with Jose, it’s his first time reading pace notes in English and we’re using other drivers’ pace notes. It’s going to be tough. My goals are to get to the finish, and enjoy myself.”
Clark is no stranger to rallying at a senior level and he has driven a Ford Focus WRC once before - although only at a promotional day in the UK. His prize for winning the Fiesta SportingTrophy was a fully funded WRC drive on a round of the series in 2008. But with the additional support of his sponsors Clark has expanded his WRC programme to three events: Turkey, Corsica and Wales Rally GB.
“The opportunity arose on Tuesday night when Luis called me to say he wouldn’t be able to compete,” explained Malcolm Wilson. “So in conjunction with the event stewards I looked at the options and made the call to Barry. The fact that he was coming here anyway, and doing three events in a Ford this year made good sense. I felt it was a great opportunity for him to tick a few boxes before his first rally - so at least when he gets to Turkey it’s not all new to him.”
“It’s a difficult situation because he hasn’t had the opportunity to do the recce, so he’s on a combination of Matthew [Wilson] and Federico’s [Villagra] notes but as long as he uses the rally as sort of high speed recce, it won’t all be new to him in Turkey. If he tries to do anything other than that he’d be silly because this is a difficult and tricky event.”