Penrith driver Paul Bird saw his 2012 REIS/Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship campaign get underway with a battling sixth place finish on today's Tour of Epynt.
Driving the Fuchs Titan, Rapid Solicitors and Kick Energy-backed FBP Ford Focus WRC08, Bird was making his debut on the popular Llandovery based event which consisted of over 80 miles on the notorious military roads and knew from the start he faced a challenge.
Along with Scottish co driver Kirsty Riddick, the British Superbike and MotoGP team boss made a cautious start to hold eighth place after the opening stage which he maintained for the opening loop of stages. Bird then upped his pace in the afternoon and courtesy of a string of top six times, clawed his way to sixth place overall to bag important points in his championship bid.
Paul Bird: "To think I had to drive as hard as I did for a sixth place finish and to be off the pace by nearly two minutes is a little disappointing on one hand but given the experience some of the drivers in front of me have on these ranges over the years, I shouldn't be too harsh on myself. It was my first time on Epynt and I made no mistakes so was hoping for a top four position at least but these are important points in the bag. Let's see how we get on when we get to the Isle of Man for the next round as I know my way round there OK!"
Indeed Bird has taken victory on the Manx National Rally on two occasions in 2009 and 2010 so will be hoping for a maximum points haul on the event which takes place on May 11/12th.
|1|| Melvyn Evans/Aled Davies|| Subaru Impreza WRC|| 1:09:57|
|2|| Damian Cole/Dave Engwell|| Ford Focus WRC|| 1:11:03|
|3|| Peter Lloyd/Ryland James|| Subaru Impreza WRC|| 1:11:17|
|4|| Stephen Simpson/Patrick Walsh|| Subaru Impreza WRC|| 1:11:38|
|5|| John Indri/Janice Moore|| Darrian T90 GTR|| 1:11:53|
|6|| Paul Bird/Kirsty Riddick|| Ford Focus WRC|| 1:12:43|
|7|| Graham Coffey/Howard Pridmore|| Subaru Impreza WRC|| 1:13:38|
|8|| Bob Fowden/Jason Sugden|| Subaru Impreza|| 1:15:17|
|9|| James Belton/Mark Glennerster|| Subaru Impreza WRC|| 1:15:40|
|10|| Mark Morgan/Tony Fisher|| Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8|| 1:16:21|