McCormack wins R.A.C. Rally, Perez out on final stage

The Northern Irishman secured his fourth victory on the gruelling event, which continued to bite drivers on its final day


Northern Irish driver Marty McCormack has won the Roger Albert Clark Rally for a record-extending fourth time in an event both Kris Meeke and Oliver Solberg failed to finish.

McCormack and Barney Mitchell were victorious by 5 minutes 30 seconds over Cathan McCourt and Liam Moynihan’s Ford Escort Mk2, after Seb Perez and Gary McElhinney were cruelly denied second place in their Lancia Stratos after stopping on the event’s 33rd and final stage.

Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke inherited third to round-off an all-Escort podium.

The R.A.C. Rally is a biennial historic event based in the UK, which this year comprised 350 stages miles across Wales, Scotland and England.

World Rally Championship stars Solberg, Meeke and Chris Ingram brought international flavor to the event but none of them made the finish.

Meeke led after the first five stages, embroiled in a tussle with Solberg and 2022 British Rally champion Osian Pryce. But an engine issue ruled his Escort out on the sixth stage and Meeke wasn’t able to restart.

That left Pryce in the lead of the rally after day one, but by just one second over Solberg. Come day two, Solberg had got himself ahead and was soon comfortably clear when Pryce retired on the Scottish leg after an oil leak sidelined him.

Building a lead of over five minutes, it looked for all the world that Solberg would emerge victorious but on the final stage of Sunday, a driveshaft issue forced him out.


Incredibly he and Elliott Edmondson restarted Monday’s final leg after the Viking Motorsport team worked to fix their Escort – which Oliver is borrowing from his father Petter – but the 22-year-old was caught out in a muddy section on the day’s first stage and retired for good.

McCormack had been sticking to his own pace and rhythm while all of this was unfolding around him, and suddenly he found himself in the box seat.

Not even the final 39-mile stage, aptly named The Big One, could stop him as he recorded an historic victory.

“Wow, I just can’t believe it!” said McCormack at the end of the five-day marathon. “That was a really tough one, the event, the whole thing. Wow, I can’t believe we’re here.

“It’s just been so, so hard. It’s been a fistfight the whole way.”

“When I was stuck in the ditch on Saturday, I wouldn’t have said that I’d be standing here today.

“But that’s this rally, it’s an endurance event. It’s got everything. It’s not about being fast all the time, it’s just about being there at the finish.

“And wow, yeah, I can’t believe it. “