Langwathby rally driver Paul Bird's incredible run of bad luck this season continued when his hopes of a third victory at Sol Rally Barbados were dashed when a spin late on cost him the win.
Driving the Frank Bird Poultry, Rubis Petroleum and Cockspur Rum-backed and Dom Buckley IRS-prepared Ford Focus WRC08 he was sharing with regular Welsh co driver Aled Davies, the former National rally champion was hoping to put the disappointment of last year's retirement behind him when he was going for a third successive victory on the Caribbean island.
The Cumbrian British Superbike team owner followed up his third place in the previous weekend's LIME King of the Hill event with a great performance thoughout the three-day rally where he was dicing against not only the local Caribbean regulars, but World Rally Championship stalwarts including double European champion Simon Jean-Joseph from France and Finn Toni Gardemeister.
Second to the Frenchman by 0.2 seconds after leading the rally following the opening two stages, Bird continued his charge throughout Saturday and at the end of day two, Bird held onto second place by a mere 1.5 seconds from Jamaican Jeffrey Panton with Jean-Joseph in third a slender 5.4 seconds further back.
Right up until the final stages, there was nothing to choose between Panton, Bird and Jean-Joseph and just as it looked as victory might be in sight for Bird, a spin and a stall on SS19 dropped him ten seconds which was enough to drop them to third overall. Despite not winning, the result maintained Bird's incredible run of podium finishes on the event.
Paul Bird: "With such quality opposition, I was having to drive to the maximum but we had everything under control. There was very little in it all rally long and just one mistake would be crucial and so it proved. Whilst I'm naturally disappointed, I can't complain too much when you look at the competition which was stronger than normal this year. At some point our bad luck will desert us but thanks to Rubis and Cockspur as well as all our other sponsors, we'll be back to fight again next year. Well done to Jeffrey, the best man won and it was an honour to battle with a legend such as Simon too."
1 Jeffrey Panton/Michael Fennell Jnr - JAM Ford Focus WRC06
2 Simon Jean-Joseph/Jack Boyere - FRA Ford Focus WRC08
3 Paul Bird/Aled Davies - GBR Ford Focus WRC08
4 Toni Gardemeister/Timo Alanne - FIN Subaru Impreza WRC S12
5 Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia - BAR Subaru Impreza WRC S12
6 Rob Swann/Aled Edwards - GBR Subaru Impreza WRC S11
ImageL Paul Bird in action on Sol Rally Barbados 2015