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31st October 2002


It was a disappointing result for MG’s Mark Blundell at the weekends South of England Tempest Stages when he, and co-driver and Bob McKenzie, failed to finish in the MG ZR Super1600.

Mark stepped up from the Group N to the Super1600 rally car to gain valuable experience in preparation for next months Network Q Rally of GB. The pairing made an early exit on stage six during Saturday’s events due to transmission failure. Mark commented: "I’m very disappointed that we didn’t manage to complete the event. On the positive side, we still managed to gain some more track experience. This weekend I was driving the S1600 for the first time, so the car was new to me. It’s a great little car, with bundles of power, and it took some get used to, but I really enjoyed driving it. The Tempest Stages was very challenging for a novice rally driver like me, with the track being very bumpy."

The MG Sport & Racing team battled against to clock overnight to ensure that Blundell and McKenzie were on the starting blocks for Sunday morning for the Clubman Stages. It was transmission failure that set in again which meant that the duo retired on Stage 12. Mark added: "Even though we didn’t manage to complete either events this weekend, I still managed to have a few dramas and get ‘on the edge’, and on one occasion, ‘over the edge’ when we ended up in a ditch. Luckily, a group of spectators kindly helped us out of that predicament so that we could continue. I’m hoping that I’ve made all my rookie mistakes now and can

keep it on the road for the big one, the Network Q Rally next month."

The Group N car driven by Tony Jardine and Maurice Hamilton had a more positive weekend when they secured a Class win and 19th overall in the final round of the British Rally Championship, Tempest Stages.

The stages were deteriorating rapidly due to extreme weather conditions, which caught the pairing out as they ran straight on at a ninety degree bend! With the help of marshals, the ZR was back on track but dropped valuable time. Tony explained: "It really was one of those moments you don't want to experience too often in rallying. We were very fortunate that the exit road was there and that we were not far from service and we could limp home. The MG boys did a great job in getting the car back on the road. Unfortunately we only had time to restore brakes to three of the wheels so we had to complete the final two stages without a left rear brake. This didn't make too much difference but impaired us a little when we needed to do a hand brake turn into a hairpin. The incident cost us some time and I think a couple of places in the overall standings but we couldn't have improved on a first in class win so obviously I am delighted!"

Tony Jardine will be driving one of the four MG ZRs which are being entered into the Network Q Rally of GB (subject to confirmation).

Issued by MG Rover Group Communications

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