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Red Bull International RallySprint promises spectacular action

The provisional entry for Saturday's (May 19) Red Bull International RallySprint is already knocking on 50, and the final list could well be more than 60 by the time the first wheel turns in anger at the Vaucluse Raceway to start the seventh annual Barbados Rally Carnival.

The entries already received promise island motor sport fans a day of spectacular action, as lap record-holder and acknowledged 'King of Vaucluse' Trevor 'Electric Micey' Manning (Shell V-Power Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII) faces a mixture of known and unknown quantities.

The known quantities are headed by Paul 'Surfer' Bourne, himself a former lap record holder at the St Thomas facility, and a man on the top of his form after a strong start to the local rally season in his Plus-backed Subaru Impreza World Rally Car. It will be Bourne's first visit to Vaucluse this season, and he is determined to do well.

The unknown quantities are well-known by name, but arrive with new machinery. At the end of 2005, Roger 'The Sheriff' Skeete reverted to two-wheel-drive with a reincarnation of his former Peugeot 306 Maxi, but he is expected to launch himself back into Modified 8 with a bang on Saturday, at the wheel of an ex-factory Havoline-backed Ford Escort WRC.

Skeete's absence from the venue has lasted even longer than Bourne's, but it is unlikely that he has forgotten his way round. That said, his focus may be somewhat divided on Sunday by the presence of son Dane, who is sharing his Citgo/Goodyear Peugeot 106 with Conor Roach.

Perhaps the most interesting entry, though, is that of popular British competitor Kevin Procter, returning for his fifth visit to Rally Carnival with a fifth different car; for 2007, he arrives with the most successful ex-works Hyundai Accent WRC of all . . . it was driven to fourth place in the 2001 Network Q RAC Rally by Alister McRae. While the former WRC Accents are regular winners of national championship rounds in the UK and Procter has already won a single-venue rally in his recently-acquired Procters Coaches/ITC-backed example, the two events of Rally Carnival will present a new challenge.

Three of his earlier Barbados cars are here, too - well, at least parts of them. The dark horse of the British contingent is Dave Bellerby: although this will be the first time he has driven in competition here, he has been a regular visitor to the island with Procter. Reigning British Rallycross SuperModified Champion, at the wheel of a Lotus Exige, Bellerby's determined driving style is well-suited to the ex-Procter Sapphire Cosworth, which is now powered by the Millington Diamond engine which used to sit in the stable's Puma 4 x 4 Evo.

Another popular driver from the north of England, Fred 'The Builder' Davidson is back once again, his Deansbury Homes Ford Escort Cosworth being the car that Procter drove on his second visit to the island.

Further spice is added by the debut of Brett Clarke, who steps up to four-wheel-drive for the first time, after achieving Group wins in Modified 5; work continues on preparation of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.5, in which he will use Saturday's event for valuable seat time, prior to Rally Barbados the following weekend.

With Vaucluse regulars such as Barry Gale (Dentyne Ice Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI) and Kirk Watkins (Abacus Builders Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V) also in the mix, not forgetting the ever-popular two-wheel-drive runners led by the BMWs of local ace Jonathan Still and England's Martin Stockdale, Saturday at Vaucluse promises fireworks.

Qualifying is slated for 10.00am, with the Group heats scheduled for a 3.00pm start; the sun will have set long before the Group Winners Handicap KnockOut begins. A prize-giving will complete the day's activities.

The Red Bull International RallySprint (May 19) is the third and final round of the Vaucluse Raceway RallySprint Cup and a round of the BRC Driver's Championship. It is organised by the Vaucluse Raceway Motor Sport Club and sponsored by Red Bull.

Key dates for Barbados Rally Carnival 2007
Friday, May 18 - scrutineering for all competitors
- Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, Wildey
Saturday, May 19 - Red Bull International RallySprint
- Vaucluse Raceway, St Thomas
Thursday, May 24 - Rally Barbados 2007 shakedown
Saturday, May 26 - Rally Barbados 2007, day 1
Sunday, May 27 - Rally Barbados 2007, day 2
Monday, May 28 - Rally Barbados 2007 prize-giving
- The Boatyard

For further information:
e-mail - robin@bradfax.com; web site - www.barbadosrallycarnival.com

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