Rally proves tough task for Saffron Walden star

Rally WITH sporadic weather making tyre choice difficult and a puncture in the latter stages of the race, Saffron Walden’s Tom Clark could only manage sixth place in the Jim Clark Rally.

With sun and rain forecast for the Scottish rally, Clark and his team’s choice of tyre was purely down to guesswork.

Unfortunately for the 18-year-old his prayers were not answered as the intermediate tyres he and his team, LabCraft Rally, opted for were slower than the slick tyres his opponents were racing on.

With a new set up for his 4x4 and the slower tyres, the first three stages of the race were difficult for Clark and his co-driver Alistair Wyllie. Racing by night proved more successful for Clark as he improved on his times throughout stages four, five and six.

Tyre choice was the hot topic again as racing began on Saturday. With slicks on the front and intermediates on the back, Clark was able to close the gap on the leaders in the next three stages.

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But stage 10 proved to be the nail in the coffin for Clark’s hopes of competing for the win. A rock in the road punctured the front right wheel and damaged the body work, costing the team four minutes. Clark manoeuvred the car to the end of the stage but the damage had been done.

Soft brakes and leaking brake fluid were the story of stage 11 as Clark had to use the handbrake and gears to nurse the car around the course, losing vital minutes. With the car patched up as well as possible the final five stages got underway.

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Unfortunately it was not without incident. Having caught up to the car in front, Clark was held up for a minute which proved costly in the final times and a sixth place finish.

Next: The next round of the Dulax Trade British Rally Championship sees the Labcraft Rally Team head across the Irish Sea for the Todds Leap Ulster rally in August.

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