ISLAND CHAMPIONS READY FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

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ISLAND CHAMPIONS READY FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS

Four reigning Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Class Champions are among the first entries from the island confirmed for Sol Rally Barbados 2014 (May 31/June 1) and the previous weekend’s ‘shakedown’ event, Scotiabank King of the Hill (Sunday, May 25). As the on-line entry list goes ‘live’ today on the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net, momentum starts to build for the 25th running of the BRC’s blue riband event.

  Local Toyota dealer Roger Hill, who won the Club’s WRC-2 and 4wd Championship titles last year, will again field his familiar Toyota Corolla WRC, with regular co-driver Graham Gittens. Hill has finished in the top seven 16 times in the event’s 24-year history, his best result second in a Toyota Celica GT4 in 2003.

  He finished sixth overall last year and second in WRC-2, for World Rally Cars built before the end of 2003, beaten by England’s Roger Duckworth (Subaru Impreza WRC S6), on his third visit to the island; Hill can expect some equally tough competition this year, with Duckworth’s fellow-countrymen Kevin Procter (Impreza WRC S7) and Rob Smith (Impreza) already confirmed for WRC-2, and more overseas entries known to be in the pipeline.

  BRC Group N Champion for five of the past six years, Geoff Noel (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) is another hoping to return to the top step of the rostrum in Sol RB2014, after finishing second last year to Mark Thompson (Evo IX), who is also among the early entries for this year’s event; Noel, who was the BRC’s Champion Driver in 2009 and 2011, endured a torrid weekend on the island’s premier event last year, failing to secure a hoped-for third Group N victory.

  In the senior 2wd category, SuperModified 12, Rhett Watson was victorious both over the weekend of Sol Rally Barbados 2013 and in the year-end standings of the BRC Drivers’ Championship; taking over from brother Logan, who had won SM11 in the same BMW M3 in 2012, before the introduction of SM12, Watson enjoyed a near-perfect season, only losing out on the Champion Driver title under the dropped-score tie-break rule to the Clubman class-winning Peugeot 106 of Conor Roach.

  In Sol RB13, Bryan Gill (M3) had looked set to win SM12, after a solid performance on Saturday saw him lead the class from the M3s of Martin Atwell and Watson. Once on home ground in the island’s south-east corner, however, Watson fought back, passing Atwell for second, and eventually Gill, who had a gearbox problem in the final stages. Another good battle in the all-M3 class is in prospect, with Atwell already on the list, as is Justin Campbell, who was forced out of day two last year with differential failure.

  Also BMW-mounted is Stuart White, who finished second to Greg Cozier’s Ford Escort RS2000 in the Historic class and 31st overall in Sol RB13 but was crowned 2013 Champion at year-end; built in 2012 in the UK by Martin Stockdale, who clocked up his 13th consecutive visit to the island’s premier event in 2013, the BMW 325 replaced the Toyota Starlet in which White has previously contested SM9 with varying degrees of success. As a co-driver, he had claimed class wins sitting with Darrin White (1990-’91), Jason Cozier (2000) and Andrew Jones (2005).

 

Entry list now ‘live’ at www.rallybarbados.net

 

With 20 weeks to go before Scrutineering for Sol RB14 and Scotiabank King of the Hill on Saturday, May 24, preparations are stepping up a gear for the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International. The entry list is now ‘live’ on the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net, where it can be found in the draw-down under the Competitors tab on the home page.

  As in previous years, the entry displayed will initially fall short of the total number of entries received, as some overseas entries, in particular from crews new to the event, will be held back for promotional purposes in consultation with the entrants. This year, the overseas entries currently represent a higher percentage of those posted than at the same time last year, with a schedule of announcements planned for the coming weeks.

  The event has already attracted a broad cross-section of competitors, with crews registered in 13 of the 16 different classes; in addition to the host country, competitors from 11 countries have already registered, with enquiries from others still being processed.

 

Sol Rally Barbados and Scotiabank King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 55th Anniversary in 2012; Sol RB14 is the 25th running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the seventh year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

 

For media information only. No regulatory value.

 

For further media information: e-mail - robin@bradfax.com web sites: www.rallybarbados.net; www.barbadosrallyclub.com

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