Black­burn rally man de­buts new chal­lenger at oul­ton park

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - By Jack Benyon

John Stone made a shock car change for last week­end’s Neil Howard Stages at Oul­ton Park, field­ing a Ford Fi­esta RS WRC which he will use in fu­ture Mo­tor­sport News Cir­cuit Rally Cham­pi­onship rounds.

In the first MN round of the sea­son at Oul­ton Park, Stone nar­rowly missed out on fourth place in the car. He has swapped to the WRC car from a Fi­esta S2000 with a 2.5-litre Milling­ton en­gine.

The new car was pur­chased from Kieran Graf­fin in Ire­land, and Stone is plan­ning vis­its to Ire­land and the Isle of Man in the next year.

“I’d love to take the car to Mon­aghan in April and I’d love to do the Manx Na­tional,” said Stone of his plans for next year. “It’s a proper tool for that.

“At the back of my mind I also have the North West Stages and I want to have a su­per-com­pet­i­tive car for that. It’s a learn­ing thing now, we have to start from the be­gin­ning.”

Stone spon­sors the North West Stages through his Leg­end Fires con­cern in Black­burn, and the event is par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant next year as it is set to use closed roads in com­pe­ti­tion for the first time.

Stone was usurped late in the rally by Fi­esta R5 driver Steve Simp­son, but was happy with the gen­eral per­for­mance.

“It was great to bat­tle with Steve Simp­son,” he said. “We started ral­ly­ing at the same time 20 years ago, bat­tling in my Peu­geot 205 and he had a 306, which he was us­ing on cir­cuit events even then.”

Stone could give his Three Sis­ters Cham­pi­onship-win­ning son Alex a de­but in the car at the Glyn Stages at An­gle­sey in late No­vem­ber, and has en­tered.

Fifth over­all for Stone at Oul­ton

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