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22nd October 2002


Former Formula One driver, Mark Blundell, took to a rally track for the first time this weekend, competing in the Bulldog Rally as part of his preparations for entering the Network Q Rally of Great Britain next month.

An eventful day for Blundell and co-driver Bob McKenzie, a motorsport journalist, resulted in a 7th in class for the duo in their MG ZR, with some slick work from the experienced MG XPOWER crew making sure they reached the finish.

The pair took on some of the most famous stages in rallying, including Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren, giving a taste of what will be in store on Britain's round of the World Rally Championship. Blundell rose to the challenge and enjoyed his first experience of the gruelling sport of rallying and said: "What an experience! Iíve thoroughly enjoyed the day. Itís been full of action Ė we had gear selector trouble which left me stuck in 3rd for about 8 miles of a stage, a driveshaft problem which, thankfully, the MG boys were able to quickly sort out at a service stage, and I topped this by managing to put the car on its side. All in all, a steep learning curve. It was a bit of a baptism of fire, but a very useful day in terms of gaining experience of forest stage rallying."

"After only 45 minutes at the wheel at Silverstone last week, it was good to get through this first event with the car intact and to reach the finish. Now I can concentrate on developing my rally driving technique and working towards improving my stage times. Bob and I immediately developed an easy rapport in the car, which helped to quickly give confidence to push harder as the day progressed. I hope I didnít scare him too much! All in all, a good first day for which I must thank everyone in the MG XPOWER team and of course, my co-driver."

Bob McKenzie said at the finish, "Markís natural driving skills really shone through today. Although it was his first time driving on gravel he acquitted himself well. We went through hell and high water, but he took everything that was thrown at him Ė and we certainly had plenty of action to keep us on our toes."

Blundell and McKenzie return to the MG ZR to continue their build up to the Network Q Rally of Great Britain, competing in the Tempest Stages in Aldershot, Hampshire next weekend.  

Issued by MG Rover Group Communications

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