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John-Stone-Jack-frost-TT-1Blackburn rally driver John Stone heads to Blackpool next weekend (5/6th February) looking for some overdue success on the Legend Fires North West Stages Rally which gets underway on the Friday evening (5th February).

The event sponsor will be behind the wheel of his recently acquired Ford Fiesta 2.5S which he’ll share with Welsh co driver Carl Williamson following a successful shakedown on last weekend’s Jack Frost Stages Rally at Croft.

Stone won the Legend Fires North West Stages Rally back in 2004 driving an MG Metro 6R4 with Lee Carter co-driving, but despite an odd podium placing since, the popular multi-venue tarmac event based at the Lancashire resort hasn’t been kind to him despite it carrying his company’s name as title sponsor since 2004, so he will be hoping to put that right this weekend.

An under-bonnet fire put Stone’s Skoda Fabia WRC out last year at half distance when well placed and followed engine failure late on in 2014 and a troubled rally in 2013 which saw retirement after SS11. John’s last podium placing was back in 2012 when he finished second in the Skoda to Tony Bardy’s Nissan but the plan is to top the podium 12 years since he last did so.

But with 75 miles of stages scattered over five venues on both Friday evening and all day Saturday, Stone knows it’s not going to be easy and despite a couple of former winners not entering this year, the competition just oozes class as normal.

John Stone said: “We’ve not enjoyed the best of luck in recent years for whatever reason and we just couldn’t buy a result on the event in the Skoda it would seem so the plan is to make up for lost time. The new Ford Fiesta is a brilliant car and we had a good shakedown at Croft so we are hopeful we can put our bad luck behind us and have a good run. There are plenty of good drivers in fast cars once again so it’s going to be tough, but the plan is to get to the finish on the podium, and hopefully the top step. Carl says he’s paying for the celebrations if we do so that’s reason enough!”

The Legend Fires North West Stages Rally gets underway from the Norbreck Castle Hotel at 18.30 on Friday with a loop of stages totalling around ten miles, including on Blackpool Promenade in the dark before restarting at 08.10 the following day with around another 65 miles before the finish in Blackpool at 18.00

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Picture courtesy of Tony Todd

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