11 Jun 08
Scotsman Barry Clark says he feels well prepared ahead of the Rally of Turkey, the second event of his season but the first he says he will drive at competitive speed.
Clark, 25, was given the opportunity to drive for the Munchi’s team as his prize for winning the 2007 Fiesta SportingTrophy. Turkey was originally planned to be his first ever WRC rally, but after an unscheduled debut in Jordan it has turned out to be the second of the four rounds he will tackle this year.
The 25-year-old finished 12th overall in Jordan, when he was asked to stand in for the team’s regular driver Luis Perez Companc who withdrew from the event at the last minute. Clark’s eleventh hour substitution meant he missed the pre-event recce and was co-driven by another last minute stand-in - Jose Dias. In Turkey, however, Clark will complete the full reconnaissance with his new co-driver Paul Nagle.
Mechanically, Clark is better prepared than most of the other WRC stars. During the Acropolis Rally the Scot was a mechanic on the left-hand rear corner of Aris Vovos’ Ford Focus RS WRC07 - the car he will use himself in Turkey.
“To say I’m excited about the challenge ahead is an understatement!” said Clark. “It was a fantastic help to have competed in Jordan but this is still my first event at competitive speed in a WRC car and my first with a new co-driver. You just can’t go out and drive one of these cars flat out from the start. But I know what I have to do. It is extremely important for me to finish here to get the competitive experience for my other two events this year.
“The plan is to keep a steady head and hopefully do a good job for Ford and the Munchi’s team. I’ve prepared well for this rally from physical fitness to reviewing the stages from previous years and talking to the team engineers about set-up for the rough gravel conditions.”
Team leader Federico Villagra returns with regular co-driver Jorge Perez Companc who missed the most recent round in Greece.
“The last few events have gone well for us and it has been a great learning experience to have them all together with not much space in between,” said Villagra. “It makes it easier for me to learn and transfer the feeling with the car from one rally to the next. I would say we are quite confident going to Turkey. We did the event in 2005 but this time the circumstances are much different and we won’t be able to push too hard from the start. That’s the plan anyway. We need to build the speed up over the rally, not make any mistakes and hopefully collect more points for me and the team. It would be great to stay inside the drivers’ championship top-10 after the first half of the year.”