James Ford made a fantastic Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship debut on the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally, finishing eighth in the points and the fourth two-wheel drive competitor home in his Century Autosport-run Escort Mk2.
The 28-year old Blackpool driver is the son of Fiesta R5 pilot Chris Ford, and James usually drives the team transporter to and from events and services for his father.
Having previously contested the British Rally Championship, albeit a few years ago, the Down Rally was James’ second rally in the 2.5-litre Duratec-engined Ford, having done the North West Stages in it earlier this year.
James’ mechanical skills came to the fore on SS4 in Northern Ireland when the steering rack came loose, and he also survived a very close call when he hit a wooden post after a heavy landing. Despite a spin on the final loop, James and co-driver Michael Gilbey finished 54.5 seconds ahead of Chris who, co-driven by Neil Colman, enjoyed a faultless drive in the more modern four-wheel drive Ford.
James will be back servicing for his father on the Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally (25 August), and is considering driving the Escort Mk2 again on the final round of the series, the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally (22 September).