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nmn FEBRUARY 2011 fast ford

Portugal, March 1992. Mikl Biasion on his way to second overall in the Mobil-liveried car

Wilson (returning to the fold after stints with Austin-Rover, Peugeot and GM), and Pentti Airikkala (who had recently won the 1989 RAC rally in a 4wd Mitsubishi).

In advance of homologation, Boreham asked Mike Little Preparations to build a car for Mia Bardoletto drive in Spain. Happily, that Marlboro-liveried car won, first time out, in March 1990.

Later, Boreham sent a development car for Airikkala to drive in British rallies. In the Welsh, Pentti headed the 'Trophy' rally (for non-homologated cars) by a colossal margin, he would have finished second overall in the major event. In Scotland he also dominated that section and would have finished third overall if allowed to be classified. This was an encouraging start.

This was just a prelude to real competition, and a real chance came in August 1990 in the Finnish 1000 Lakes. Sadly, it was a fiasco. Before the event the three cars looked smart and purposeful, but none of them finished. Airikkala's car blew its seven-speed transmission after four stages, Wilson's car did the same before half-distance, while Cunico rolled his car just three stages after the re-start.

Lancia boss Cesare Fiorio's son Alex agreed to drive for Ford in 1991, Cunico (really a Tarmac specialist), could be released, and ori San Remo surely t could only get better?

It did, but not by much. IWo Sapphires retired - one after an accident the other with a deranged throttle mechanism - but Pentti set three fastest stage times before going off the road for a time, and finished back in 11th place.

CHANGE AT THE HELM Getting his timing exactly right, Stuart Turner, who had been close to Ford Motorsport for

After the fireworks provided by the whale-tall sierra Cosworths, both on rallies and the racetrack, the rwd Sapphire Cosworth had a short rally career. Then, inside a year the new Cosworth 4x4, announced in January 1990 and homologated in August, took over. Even so, Boreham prepared a handful of four-door cars for use in the British Championship.

Colin McRae won his first-ever international rally (the Yorkshire-based Cartel, in G97 CHK); Malcolm Wilson took two second places (Circuit of Ireland and Welsh, in G96 CHK), while Gwyndaf Evans won the Group N Championship categor y in F284 PVW. Yet as soon as the 4wd version was homologated, Russell

Brookes had his own private car prepared and won the Manx and welsh-based Audi sport events outright. Boreham, with its star drivers committed to world events at the end of the year, couldn't match that.

From that moment on, it was all-wheel traction that would dominate the scene at Boreham. The first 5000 examples of the new Sierra Cosworh 4x4 were completed by the end of July, and homologation in Group A and Group N followed immediately. Even at the start of 1990, Peter Ashcroft knew that he could plan a World Championship assault to start in August 1990.

DRIVER CHOICE Preparation of new4wd rally cars had already begun and a two-year sponsorsh p deal with Q8 Oils had been sccurcd, but Boreham needed new drivers. With only half a seasor remaining, Ashcroft's choice was limited. In the end he signed up Franco Cunico of Italy, Malcolm

FAST FORD february 2011 ¿000

transmission linking it all together.

Meanwhile, Boreham needed a boost in the British rac r^ily. All went well from the start in Han-agate, and after the first day Pentti was third and Wilson fourth. Then, four second fastest times Pentti crashed, and suffered an enormous accident. Wilson's

Colin McRae, whose RED-prepared Cosworth 4x4 took

Gwyndaf Evans's

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