Continuing his recent domination, Cumbrian-born rally driver Frank Bird took a comprehensive victory on last weekend’s MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Winter Stages to thrust himself firmly into contention in the Motorsport News with MSVR Circuit Rally Championship.

Along with Hexham co-driver Jack Morton, the 20-year-old from Penrith made it three wins in the Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Ford Focus WRC07.

The long trip south to the famous Kent track proved worthwhile and despite a cautious start on the icy opening stage, from SS2 onwards, Bird was never headed and won all seven remaining stages. 14 seconds to the good going into SS3, the pair upped their pace further and at the halfway point, enjoyed a 42 second lead.

Not content with easing off and protecting his lead, Bird did the opposite and rammed home his advantage in the afternoon stages, increasing his advantage to 77 seconds after the sixth stage, before sensationally winning each of the final two stages by nearly half a minute to cross the finish ramp two minutes and 21 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

The result means that Bird has propelled himself up the championship leaderboard after four rounds following on from the disappointment of retiring when leading at the opening round at Oulton Park in November and missing the following round at Cadwell Park.

“The car felt really good all day and it suited the stage layouts well so thanks to the [Dom] Buckley lads.”