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GP Week : 29-Apr-2008
su tto n-i m ag es .co m IT all started when Luis Perez Companc decided, after concluding the first day of recce, he had to return to Argentina and not stay for the Jordan rally. Under the FIA’s rules, this was not a normal course of action, and in order to avoid a heavy penalty it was necessary to find a driver able to take over car number 10. Different options were contemplated, and finally M- Sport decided that the only practical solution was to invite Barry Clark to do the job. Clark was already coming to the rally as a mechanic for car 9, the Munchi’s entry for Federico Villagra, and was due to arrive in Jordan late Wednesday night. In order to be accepted by the Stewards he had to be present at the Dead Sea first thing Thursday morning and drive the Shakedown stage. He arrived on schedule – so far, so good – but what to do about the recce? Finding available pacenotes was one thing – they were available in English or Spanish. But finding someone ready and available to read them in a way that Barry could understand, that was another. Should the pacenote reader be English or Spanish? In the end the available Argentine co-driver Jose Diaz was asked if he would sit in the suicide seat. His task was to read Villagra’s Spanish pacenotes and translate these for Clark as they went along down the stage. Problems emerged in all directions. In a rally which every top driver said was particularly critical for accurate pacenote making and reading, would this work? Only time would tell. And then Villagra found he had a problem. He had no mechanic able to take over the responsibilities that Clark would have carried out. In the end, Nicola Smith, pictured bwlow, was told she would be responsible for the rear right suspension on Villagra’s car. She was present in Jordan, working in the team’s hospitality service, looking for something to remember the journey by. Her day had come! WRC JORDAN >> The Clark/Smith saga M ar tin H olm es M ar tin H olm es 37