RECORD-BREAKING ENTRY FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

The final running order for Sol Rally Barbados 2015 (May 29-31), published by the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) in advance of this evening’s Briefing Meeting at the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa in Rockley, lists competitors from 15 nations among the 90 crews for the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International.
 
As the BRC celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its premier event, records have been broken - overseas entries (44), total of overseas participants (89), first-time overseas participants (40), cars in the 4wd classes (27) and the number of female competitors (16), while the quality of the entry across the board means all bets are off.
 
BRC Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “It would seem that there are many in the rallying fraternity across the world who want to help the Barbados Rally Club celebrate the first 25 years of special stage rallying in the island. We are overwhelmed by the support shown this year, not only by our long-term repeat visitors, but also by the record number of newcomers. We welcome them and thank them all for their support . . . and it is now up to us, and that special vibe that ‘rally’ in Barbados creates, to ensure that our first-time participants come back year after year as well.
 
“Sunday’s LIME King of the Hill has truly set us up for an amazing weekend of competition – overall victory was decided by just five-hundredths of a second, and four classes were settled by less than a second, too! This is unheard of . . . I believe that next weekend will be something very special.”
 
With seeding based on the results of last Sunday’s LIME King of the Hill, 13-time winner Roger Skeete and Louis Venezia (Sol/LIME/Simpson Motors/Automotive Art Subaru Impreza WRC S12) will start at number one. Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton – he won the International All-Stage Rally in 1998 - and Michael Fennell Jnr are at two, in the Rubis/Total/Sandals Barbados Ford Focus WRC06, with 2012 & ’13 winner Paul Bird and Aled Davies at three in the Rubis/Cockspur/Frank Bird Poultry/Hager/Mac Tools/Elas/Pirelli/C4L Focus WRC08.
 
Also in contention are former World Rally Championship contender, Finland’s Toni Gardemeister, who will campaign the Red Bull Global Rallycross/Simpson Motors/Bushy Park Barbados Suzuki SX4 WRC with countryman Timo Alanne, and double European Rally Champion, France’s Simon Jean-Joseph, who will be partnered in Trinidad ace John Powell’s Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services Focus WRC08 by Jack Boyere, who shared both his ERC titles in 2003 & ’07.
 
Josh Read and Mark Jordan are top 2wd seeds for the first time, starting at eight in the Stihl/Gliptone/Sprite/Hankook/Weetabix/Chutney’s/Royal Purple/EZone Toyota Starlet, with Neil Armstrong and Barry Ward (Rubis/Chefette/Hankook/Nassco/GUNK Starlet) at 11, Roger Mayers and Sean Corbin (Chefette/Sol/Digicel/DHL/Hankook/Illusion Graphics WR Starlet) at 12, and the highest-placed 2wd overseas newcomers Simon Mauger and Melanie Holmes (Major Motorsport/Smith and Jones Engines/Ravenol/Virgin Atlantic Airways/Redline Fuels/Accra Beach Hotel/Stoutes Car Rentals Ford Escort MkII) at 14.
 
In addition to the battle for overall and 2wd supremacy, there will be 15 separate classes contested, in all but two of which island competitors will enjoy the challenge of pitting their skills against regional or international entries.
 
Sol RB15 will start and finish on the unique Race Of Champions Parallel Track at Bushy Park Barbados; on Friday night, the facility will play host to the first two of 22 special stages, while Sunday’s SuperSpecial will give drivers the chance to let their hair down head-to-head, safe in the knowledge that the times are not included in the results.
 
On the other side of the island, the Vaucluse Raceway (VRW) will be the focal point of the Saturday of Sol RB15, with four runs southbound through the facility, followed by a further two northbound runs on Sunday morning. The introduction of the ROC track and new sections of VRW combined with the reconfiguration of other familiar stages present a refreshed challenge for competitors, while seeding arrangements change, too: in addition to the traditional Sunday morning re-seed based on overnight classification, the same will happen on Saturday morning.
 
Sol Rally Barbados 2015 statistics:
• 90 crews on the final running order
• a record 27 entries in the 4wd classes
• a record 44 overseas entries
• competitors from 15 nations (including Barbados)
• a record 89 overseas drivers and co-drivers, 40 new to the event (also a record)
• 46 local entries
• a record 16 female competitors, two drivers (for the first time), 14 co-drivers
• cars from 13 manufacturers, Ford best-represented with 26, followed by Toyota (15), Mitsubishi (13) and Subaru (9)
• 120 entries received on-line – 30 withdrawn (20 International, 1 Regional, 9 Local)
 
Sol Rally Barbados (May 29-31) and LIME King of the Hill (May 24) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 55th Anniversary in 2012; title sponsors are the Sol Group and LIME. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, Automotive Art and Banks; official partners are Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Port Inc, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Geest Line, the Tourism Development Corporation and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Cockspur Rum, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, 104 The Beat, Redline Fuels, REIS, Stoute’s Car Rental and Up Beat Wholesale.
 
For media information only. No regulatory value.
 
For further media information: e-mail - robin@bradfax.com
web sites: www.rallybarbados.bb; www.barbadosrallyclub.com
 
Sol-RB15-32a: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 26, 2015