DUNTON, UK - All the ingredients for high drama were present – fierce competition, national pride, a series of rarely-seen athletic challenges – as the tension mounted at Ford’s European engineering facility at Dunton, just a few kilometres from the London stadium that will launch the biggest sporting event of the year later this month.
Eight Ford drivers and co-drivers from the FIA World Rally Championship stepped back to their childhood days to take part in a traditional British primary school sports day.
Instead of the discus, javelin and 100m, the Ford Rally Sports Day saw them pit their skills in such demanding sporting disciplines as the sack race, three-legged event and bean bag-on-the-head race.
For such dangerous and challenging tests of speed and agility, only the bravest could compete, and Ford World Rally Team pairings Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila and Petter Solberg / Chris Patterson were joined by M-Sport duo Ott Tänak/ Kuldar Sikk and ALM Russia’s Evgeny Novikov / Denis Giraudet.
During an entertaining day of activities, in which the drivers’ and co-drivers’ competitive instincts came to the fore, Latvala, Solberg and Tänak won two races each. However, it was Solberg who prevailed in the title-deciding egg-and-spoon race, even if there were some entirely unfounded suspicions that he fixed his egg to his spoon prior to the start!
“It was a really fun day, but we’re all ultra-competitive guys and I think there were probably more tactics than on rallies! There was a little bit of cheating going on, although obviously not by me, and it was all in good spirit,” said a delighted Solberg.