Entries flow in for Sol Rally Barbados 2009

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Entries flow in for Sol Rally Barbados 2009

Entries made on-line through the event's official web site, www.rallybarbados.bb, since the January 1 opening date now total 49, with the balance of local, regional and international interest closely reflecting the final list for last year's event.
Sol Rally Barbados chairman Barry Gale admits to being a little surprised: "I still cannot believe the response we are getting, especially from our European competitors, bearing in mind the doom and gloom associated with the never-ending talk about a recession. The weakness of Sterling against the Dollar means that coming here will cost our regulars from the UK around 30 per cent more than it did last year, but that does not seem to be stopping them.
"Better than that, we already have five UK crews entered who have not been here before, and we're talking to even more newcomers at the moment, including one or two well-known names who contacted us . . . rather than the other way around; between exciting first-time drivers and one or two very special cars we already have confirmed, it seems we may have all the right ingredients to make Sol Rally Barbados 2009 a 'must-see' event, not just for the many thousands of motor sport fans in the island, but also from around the region as well."
A 'half-term' statistics report on the 49 entries so far presents this interesting countdown:
+ 15 international crews entered
+ 14 entries in Modified 7, M6 and M5
+ 13 manufacturers represented
+ 12 events in its 19-year history won by drivers already entered for 2009
+ 11 entries in Modified 8-WRC and M8-A
+ 10 female competitors
+ nine of whom are co-drivers
+ eight countries outside Barbados represented
+ seven local co-drivers who did not compete in Sol Rally Barbados 2008
+ six overseas drivers competing in the island for the first time
+ five Ford Escorts entered
+ four local drivers who did not compete in Sol Rally Barbados 2008
+ three entries from the wider Caribbean
+ two cars currently being built in Europe to debut in Barbados
+ one entry at least in each of the BRC's Groups, except Production 2 and P3
+ zero interest so far in the traditional Historic class
BRC congratulates Sol Rally Barbados 2008 winners on first IRC win in Brazil
Sol Rally Barbados 2008 winners Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle claimed their first win in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Brazil at the weekend, and officials of the Barbados Rally Club were quick to send congratulations by e-mail and text message. The Ulster crew bounced back from what Meeke had described as the biggest accident of his career on the Monte Carlo Rally in January to dominate the Rally Internacional de Curitiba in the Peugeot 207 S2000 entered by Peugeot UK/Kronos Racing.
Sol RB09 Chairman Barry Gale said: "It is fantastic news for Kris, who is more than capable of repaying the faith that Peugeot has placed in him; but it is also great to see an international competitor who has developed such an interest in our own event doing so well on the world stage and spreading the word. We're in regular contact, and are all doing our best to make sure that he can compete here again."
Gale also had a word for Rally Barbados regular Steve Perez, who won the Malcolm Wilson Rally in the north of England on Saturday in his ex-Marcus Gronholm Ford Focus RS WRC07: "Having retired from Rallye Sunseeker the previous weekend on his first outing with the new car, I reckon Steve will have been delighted with the result. Even so, I know he'll have spared a thought for Paul Bird, who retired for the second time in as many weekends, this time in a major accident. Thankfully, while the damage to his Focus looked major, both he and Ian Windress are OK."
Sol Rally Barbados 2009 (May 29-31) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 23) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group, the Caribbean's largest independent oil company, and both events are rounds of the Virgin Atlantic BRC Driver's Championship. Associate sponsors include the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association.
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