FINAL SHAKEDOWN FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2013


Local, international and regional competitors are making last-minute preparations for Sunday’s (May 26) Scotiabank King of the Hill, the final shakedown ahead of the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol Rally Barbados 2013 (June 1/2) . . . and Simpson Motors Scrutineering tomorrow (Saturday) will give fans their first chance to see more than 10 cars new to the island.
 
The provisional running order for Sunday’s event published today (May 24) lists 89 starters, headed by former UK National Rally Champion Paul Bird, who won both events last year and will be seeking to do so again. His Ford Focus WRC08 landed at Grantley Adams International Airport on a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 yesterday afternoon (Thursday), ready to face the biggest entry in the World Rally Car classes ever assembled in the region.
 
Scotiabank King of the Hill is being staged at Luke Hill in St Lucy for the first time, the fifth venue used since the inaugural KotH at Turner’s Hall in 2008; that was followed by Stewart’s Hill and Sailor Gully, with Hangman’s Hill used for the past two years. Although a shorter course than in previous year, it is anticipated that it will create very close competition. The Barbados Rally Club’s VIP Experience is sited at the hairpin roughly mid-way through the course.
 
Local drivers Paul Bourne (2008 & ’10) and Roger Skeete (’09 & ’11) shared the first four victories, while Bird’s win last year came after he had finished third in 2010, then second in 2011. Highest-placed two-wheel-drive car for the first three years was the Simpson Motors Suzuki Swift, with Sean Gill sixth in his last season in the car (2008), then Ian Warren ninth and fifth, the highest overall KotH finish for 2wd. Neil Armstrong was top 2wd for the past two years, ninth and eighth, while Brett Clarke, Roger Mayers, Josh Read and Cliff Roett have also featured in the overall top 10.
 
The practice run is slated for 10.15am, followed by three official runs, the fastest of which will decide competitors’ finishing positions. Cars will run in reverse seeding order, from Clubman up to WRC-1, and the top 10 after the first official run will be held back and re-seeded in reverse order to run at the end of the field.
 
The results of Scotiabank King of the Hill are used to seed the following weekend’s Sol RB13 and cars which do not compete will be seeded behind the last car in their class, unless safety considerations dictate otherwise; notable absentees on Sunday include Jamaica’s Jeff Panton (Ford Focus WRC06) and Ireland’s Joe McQuillan in his Group A Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII.
 
 
Newcomers on show at Simpson Motors Scrutineering
 
A major turn-out is anticipated for Simpsons Motors Scrutineering tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) as island fans head to the family-friendly function at the Warrens, St Michael, venue for their first chance to view the international newcomers.
 
Competition cars will start arriving to a pre-arranged schedule from before 12.30pm, so the scrutineers can carry out their work in a secure area. All cars are mandated to remain on site between 3.00pm and 6.00pm, during which time driver interviews will be broadcast on the Giant Daylight Screen, along with Sol promotional activities getting spectators involved.
 
Island fans will find much to interest them, particularly among the 30-strong international entry, more than a third of which are newcomers to the event. Among these, Englishman Stuart Deeley’s unusual championship-winning Lotus 62 is expected to attract a lot of attention, while the host of Irish newcomers include Tommy Doyle (Renault Clio), Enda McCormack (Ford Escort MkII), Maurice Moffett (Toyota Starlet), and father and son Eddie and Keith Power, in Toyota Corolla WRC and Renault Clio S1600 respectively.
 
Two popular regular visitors, Ireland’s Glenn Campbell and Allan Mackay from Scotland, return, but with changes in machinery: Campbell has recently acquired a former rallycross championship-winning Nissan Micra, powered by a 2-litre engine developed to power the Primeras in the British Touring Car Championship, while Mackay returns in his familiar Ford Anglia WRC, but brings son Euan along, too, in his Anglia JWRC.
 
 
Sol Rally Barbados 2013 (June 1/2) and Scotiabank King of the Hill (May 26) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsors are the Sol Group and Scotiabank. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, LIME, Automotive Art, Banks and Karcher; official partners are the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Authority, Tourism Development Corporation, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Geest Line and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Field Insurance, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, Redline Fuels, Stoute’s Car Rental and West Indies Rum Distillery.
 
For media information only. No regulatory value.
 
For further media information: e-mail - robin@bradfax.com
web sites: www.rallybarbados.bb; www.barbadosrallyclub.com