Finch set for second Retro Rallycross outing at Croft with iconic Fiesta
Mark Finch is set to make his second Retro Rallycross Championship appearance at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this weekend (May 6) following an impressive maiden performance at Lydden Hill on Easter Bank Holiday Monday.
Having acquired the former Euro2000-specification Paul Gosling front-wheel drive Ford Fiesta, with which Gosling won the Dutch Rallycross Championship in 1996, Finch made several alterations to the car ahead of 2018, including bringing the safety equipment up to date and adapting the front suspension with the addition of new lower wishbones.
Competing in the eclectic Retro RX field at Lydden Hill, former rallycross production car racer Finch was ninth, fifth and eighth fastest in the three qualifying sessions, in the 13-strong field, against far more powerful machinery and more experienced drivers.
Third in semi-final one, Finch battled through wet and slippery conditions with his 1600cc machine to finish third overall in the final, taking class honours in the process and scooping the coveted ‘Driver of the Day’ award, for which every driver in MSA British Rallycross Championship events is eligible.
“I was excited about going to Lydden but I had pretty much zero time in the car so it was going to be a very steep learning curve. I was blessed with a wet final which favoured me with front-wheel drive,” said Finch. “I found the organisation wonderful and came away delighted to be given the Driver of the Day award. This car ticks all my boxes – it’s very light, powerful and sounds like a rallycross car should. It has good pedigree I just had the learn how to control it. It’s a thoroughbred compared to my old production car and it was everything that I expected, fast nimble and has massive grip.”
Finch will face a new challenge when he races at Croft this weekend, but the former FIA European Rallycross Championship host-venue won’t be all new for the Retro RX driver, having previously competed at the circuit.
“I enjoy racing against the different machinery with different handling characteristics in Retro Rallycross; it makes for more exiting racing for the driver and the public,” he explained. “My car is only 1600cc and of course I would like to win the Retro class, but also to mix it with the bigger engine cars where I can too. I’m 55-years old and grew up watching rallycross in the late 70s and 80s. I used to watch my cousin (Graham Standage) race back in the day and 35-years later I felt that I should have a go. I raced a Citroën Xsara in the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship and won my class in 2016 and 2017, before going on to something more serious [with the Fiesta]. I want to use the car as much as I can throughout the season. To win a championship would be nice but for me it’s more about getting out there and enjoying the sport and the company that you meet, on and off the track.”
Full Croft Retro Rallycross preview report to follow soon.