FIRST-CLASS ENTRY FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

The final running order for Sol Rally Barbados (May 30-June 1), published in advance of this evening’s Briefing Meeting and Welcome Party by the Barbados Rally Club, lists competitors from 14 nations among the 84 crews for the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International, headed by a record-equalling entry in the WRC classes.
 
For the first time in its 25-year history, the island’s premier event will kick off with a Friday night special stage, using the redeveloped Bushy Park Circuit. When the venue was confirmed last month, Rally Director Neil Barnard said: “Since the Ceremonial Start at Simpson Motors in 2009, we have been looking for a way of starting the event on Friday evening. That experiment was met with mixed reactions, but one message came over loud and clear, from competitors and spectators alike – the one thing that was missing was action! Well, we can guarantee action this year.”
 
Three venues in the north of the island will each be used four times on Saturday, with the final loop of three run after nightfall, another change to the format encouraged by competitors. Sunday is a much shorter day, with 10 stages at three venues in the island’s south-east corner, four of them ending inside Bushy Park Circuit, including the weekend’s final stage, which will include the Rallycross jump. The total stage distance is 128 kilometres, an increase of more than 10 per cent over Sol RB13.
 
With seeding based on the results of last Sunday’s Scotiabank King of the Hill, Paul Bird and Aled Davies will start at number one in the Rubis/Cockspur Rum Ford Focus WRC08, the former UK National Rally Champion chasing a hat-trick of wins. At two is 12-time winner Roger Skeete, co-driven in the Sol/LIME/Simpson Motors/Michelin/Williams Trading Inc Subaru Impreza WRC S12 by Louis Venezia, with number three carried by Jeffrey Panton and Michael Fennell Jnr (KIG/Rubis/Blue Orchids Hotel Focus WRC06); third in Sol RB12 and second last year, the Jamaican crew are hoping the climb up the podium continues.
 
For the second year running, Roger and Barry Mayers are the top 2wd seeds, starting at 10 in the Chefette/Digicel/Pennzoil/Illusion Graphics/Hankook WR Starlet, with Dane Skeete/Tyler Mayhew (Rubis/Williams Trading Inc/LIME/Michelin Peugeot 306 Maxi) at 11 and Josh Read/Mark Jordan in the Stihl/Gliptone/Hankook/Cell Hut/Royal Purple/Weetabix/Chutney's/Ezone Toyota Starlet at 12.
 
In addition to the battle for overall and 2wd supremacy, there will be 15 separate classes contested, in most of which island competitors will enjoy the challenge of pitting their skills against regional or international entries.
Sol Rally Barbados 2014 statistics:
• 84 crews on the final running order
• 28 International, five Regional entries
• a record-equalling 13 entries in the World Rally Car classes
• competitors from 14 nations (including Barbados)
• 59 International drivers or co-drivers, 22 new to the event
• 12 drivers or co-drivers from the wider Caribbean, one new to the event
 
 
Former winning co-driver joins Sol RB14 entry list
 
Jamaica's Hugh Hutchinson, who won Rally Barbados in 2006 with fellow-countryman Gary Gregg in his ex-Carlos Sainz Ford Focus WRC02, is a last-minute substitute for Sol RB14. With regular co-driver Nicholas Telfer now unable to make the trip, Trinidad’s John Powell (Focus WRC08) has recruited Hutchinson as co-driver. Hutchinson has competed in the event 10 times since 1998, most recently in 2011, when he and Gregg retired from sixth place with mechanical issues; they had also finished third in 2003 & ’08.
 
Sol RB14 briefs:
• provisional interim results will be posted on the official Sol RB14 web site, www.rallybarbados.net - just click on the new RALLY UPDATES button on the home page. An updated spreadsheet showing cumulative times to a given stage, also stage-by-stage times, will be posted as soon as possible after each stage closes
• Greg Cozier's co-driver will now be Jamie Marsh, returning to the left-hand seat of his Historic class Ford Escort RS2000 after a break of a couple of years
• Scotland’s Allan Mackay was expecting his old 2-litre engine to land in Barbados this afternoon (Wednesday), shipped out to replace his new power unit, which seized on Sunday; the engine change moves the Ford Anglia WRC back into SuperModified 10
 
Sol Rally Barbados (May 30 - June 1) and Scotiabank King of the Hill (May 25) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 55th Anniversary in 2012; title sponsors are the Sol Group and Scotiabank. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, LIME, Automotive Art, Banks and Karcher; official partners are Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, the Barbados Tourism Authority, Geest Line, the Tourism Development Corporation and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Field Insurance, Glacial Pure, HOTT 95.3FM, 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