Cumbrian driver Frank Bird claimed a comprehensive victory on his return to rally action.

Two weeks after conquering the fast roads of the Otterburn military ranges, Bird surged to win the Neil Howard Memorial Stages Rally at Oulton Park in Cheshire.

The 22-year-old swept aside the opposition on the opening round of the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship with MSVR to take maximum points.

Bird, from Penrith, along with Lake District-based co-driver Jack Morton, were having only their second outing in the Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared and Frank Bird Poultry-backed Ford Fiesta Rally2 with assistance from Hager, Fuchs Titan Oils, Aico and Yuasa, as the pair took on the established stars of the series whilst leading from start to finish.

Quickest on the opening stage by six seconds, the pair steadily built their lead throughout the eight stages to win by over a minute.

Bird has done little rallying this year due to his commitments in the Fanatec GT World Cup Europe Sprint and Endurance Championships at the wheel of the Team WRT Audi R8 LMS, and this was only the second time in an asphalt rally since May.

He said: “We had a good run with no problems to report at all. I was using the Michelin tyres as stipulated by the championship for the first time, but the car ran faultlessly, and Jack as ever did a great job on the notes.

“I can’t do all the rounds of the series so it’s important to get maximum points in the ones we do, so this is a great start.”