Belfast Telegraph

Thrilled McCormack clinches second RAC Rally win

 

By Sammy Hamill

Marty McCormack turned back the clock to win the retro-style RAC Rally for a second time.

The former British Junior champion from Draperstown, who is partnered by navigator Barney Mitchell, brought his Mk2 Ford Escort back to the finish at Waterside in Kielder Forest with a winning margin of one minute and 44 seconds after an epic four-day drive which took him from England to Wales, back to England, up to Scotland and back into England again.

Named in tribute to the legendary English driver Roger Albert Clark, the rally covered more than 300 miles of special stages and saw McCormack, who clinched his first victory in the event back in 2012, fall back to fifth when his Escort suffered gearbox trouble on the first leg on Friday.

He had it replaced and climbed back to second behind leader Jason Pritchard during the run north towards Scotland.

And McCormack then went in front when Pritchard's Escort stopped with a broken driveshaft after the 20th of the 30 stages and never looked back.

"It was a shame to see Jason go out, it was shaping up for a good battle with him," said McCormack, who is more usually seen contesting British Championship rounds in his R5 Skoda Fabia.

But he loves to go back to one of the family-owned Escorts for an event that aims to recreate the RAC Rally of Great Britain from the '60s and '70s.

"It was a fantastic event, very challenging but really enjoyable," added Ulsterman McCormack.

"It didn't start too well with the gearbox issue, but we got it changed and other than that the car was perfect."

Matt Robinson and Sam Collis finished in second place with Roger Chilman and Bryan Thomas in third, also driving Escorts.

Another Ulster driver, Adrian Hetherington, had been in fourth place until the final stage where his Escort went off the road. He and co-driver Andrew Greenan managed to get it up and running again to make the finish but dropped to 11th.

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