Irishman Marty McCormack drove his Kumho-shod MKII Ford Escort to a memorable outright victory in last weekend’s (November 10-13) Roger Albert Clark Rally – arguably the toughest British special stage event of the last 20 years.

Success in so challenging a competition was particularly sweet for the Co. Derry-born driver, as a roll in Ypres back in June had robbed him of an almost certain podium place in this year’s British Rally Championship, in which he nevertheless achieved three podium finishes. He was quick to praise his co-driver Barney Mitchell, his service crew that made no less than two clutch and gearbox changes, and Kumho Tyre, whose R800 gravel rally tyres kept him on track throughout the gruelling 300 miles of special stages.

Held in honour of the late but fondly remembered Roger Clark MBE and designed to reflect the tough RAC international rallies of the 1970s/1980s, the event was fought out over four exhausting days and no less than 30 special stages that took the crews and their pre-1982 cars from the start at Shelsley Walsh hillclimb through Wales, the North of England and into Scotland before finishing alongside the Kielder reservoir.

Said Kumho Motorsport’s Steve Thompson: “We couldn’t be more delighted for Marty who so deserved to end the 2017 season on a high note. It takes a special driver to win the event and this is the second time he’s achieved that feat, having first done so back in 2012.”

Kynaston was also a victor

McCormack wasn’t the only driver making the most of his R800 gravel tyres on the rally, and regular Kumho runner David Kynaston and his co-driver Val Thompson were victors of class D4 aboard their Triumph TR7 V8.