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Following on from his superb podium place on last weekend’s First Citizens King of the Hill, Cumbrian driver Frank Bird’s hopes of victory on 2022 Sol Rally Barbados were dashed when he crossed the finish ramp in second place but was declared Outside Total Lateness (OTL).

Along with co-driver Jack Morton, the Penrith-born ace was making his debut on the Caribbean island where his dad Paul had so much success over the years, including winning Rally Barbados twice.

In the Frank Bird Poultry-backed Ford Fiesta R5 with support from MCE Insurance, Hager, Vodiac, PBM, MAC Tools and Dragon Energy, and prepared as always by Dom Buckley Motorsport, Frank and Lake District-based co-driver Jack Morton got off to a solid start on Saturday’s opening leg but it wasn’t long before the gremlins struck.

A couple of driveshaft issues along with an intermittent electrical fault, coupled with Morton suffering from heat exhaustion in the 67° cockpit temperatures, meant the pair languished outside the top 20 at one point, despite Bird putting in some awesome drives on the stages they didn’t encounter problems on.

A fightback was planned for Sunday whereby Bird set a string of fastest times in his bid to climb up the order from ninth. Such was his pace that he soon was challenging for a podium place but he ended up breaking a rear wheel on the Dark Hole stage, although he still set fastest time!

Frank continued his charge and snatched second place on the penultimate stage, but despite his best efforts, wasn’t classified in the overall results as he was found to have gone OTL following the time it took to repair the damage on the earlier stage.

Frank Bird: “What an experience to compete in SOL Rally Barbados! The rally throws everything at you with very challenging stages and crazy temperatures in the car so I was happy to get to the finish, although it was frustrating to have been classified as OTL. We had a tough day on Saturday with two driveshaft failures and some electrical issues as well as Jack being ill. After lying 23rd on the first loop to get back to second overall is a big achievement. A massive thanks to all the team for their hard work over the two weeks, Jack for a top job on the notes and of course my dad and our sponsors.”

For further information, please visit https://rallybarbados.net and the Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM) website http://www.pbmuk.net

Picture credit: Image Vault/Nicholas Bhajan

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