UK SUBARUS BOOST SOL RALLY BARBADOS NUMBERS

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UK SUBARUS BOOST SOL RALLY BARBADOS NUMBERS

Two Subaru Imprezas new to Sol Rally Barbados (May 31/June 1) are confirmed on the growing list of overseas entries for the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) 25th running of its premier event, also Scotiabank King of the Hill the previous weekend (May 25). They bring to 15 the cars already listed for the event’s four-wheel-drive classes on the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net.

  Oxfordshire realtor Tim Green has entered his Green & Company Estate Agents Subaru Impreza in Group N, fulfilling a long-held ambition: “I’ve been wanting to compete in Sol Rally Barbados for years, it is one of those events you have on your ‘to do’ list and, finally, here we are!”

  Green has been competing for 31 years without a break, initially as a co-driver. He was Skoda Trophy Champion Driver in 1998, then twice won his Class in the BTRDA National Championship in 2000 and ‘01 in a Group N Proton Satria. His Swindon-based co-driver Rob Smith, a senior technician for Ferrari and Maserati, started his career as a driver, but has been co-driving for Green since 1997 and shared his three title wins.

  Green, who has already attended Sol Rally Barbados to check out the event, added: “The car has been competing for 11 years now so the least it deserved was a nice holiday in Barbados!” It is currently undergoing a complete rebuild in readiness for its Caribbean trip, but Green is hoping to fit in a shakedown event before shipping.

  His co-driver is the second Rob Smith from the UK on this year’s entry list – the other will be driving the Weir Laundry Equipment Impreza in WRC-2. Green says: “We know of the other Rob Smith, having competed against him, but don't know him to chat to . . . yet! We had a bad crash on the Red Dragon Stages in South Wales in 2003, retiring on the same stage as Rob, so I’m sure we’ll find lots to talk about.”

  Among the entries joining Rob Smith and co-driver Ross Weir in WRC-2 – the category caters for pre-2004 World Rally Cars – is Ray Brammer’s RB Trucks Ltd/Top Trucks-backed Impreza WRC S8. While this ex-prodrive car is new to Barbados, HGV repair company boss Brammer isn’t, having competed twice before, with 15th overall and fifth in Modified 8 the better of his two finishes in 2004 and ’05.

  Then, he was competing in an ex-Kenny McKinstry Impreza and the link with the Ulsterman remains, as the current S8, which was driven by former World Champions Tommi Makinen and Petter Solberg in 2002, is prepared by McKinstry Motorsport. Brammer has also been competing against McKinstry, having concentrated on tarmac events in Ireland in recent years, with a number of top 10 finishes.

  Brammer’s co-driver is Irish, too, Donegal car salesman Gary McElhinney, three-time winner of the Entertainer of the Rally Award at the Donegal Rally, which suggests he will enjoy Barbados! He started competing in 1998 and is another who is comfortable on both sides of the car, winning driver in the 2010 Enniskillen Clubmans Stages, having been winning co-driver in the Isle of Man Challenge Rally the year before.

  In recent years, his co-driving expertise has taken him from European events in Belgium, Hungary and Spain across to the United States in a wide variety of machinery, from Clubman to WRC cars; he also sat with multiple Rallycross Champion, Irish legend Dermot Carnegie, when he ran as Zero Car at WRC Rally Ireland in 2009.

 

Bird wins as Procter retires in tarmac North West Stages

 

Sol Rally Barbados regulars Paul Bird and Kevin Procter suffered mixed fortunes in the Legend Fires North West Stages Rally in the seaside resort of Blackpool last weekend (February 7/8); while ‘Birdy’ claimed his second consecutive victory, Procter retired after only two stages with a blown turbo.

  Despite tricky weather conditions, which have affected much of the UK, Bird won all five Friday evening stages for a 53-second overnight lead, with regular co-driver Aled Davies in the Frank Bird Poultry/Fuchs Titan/Rapid Solicitors/Mac Tools Ford Focus WRC08. A further 12 stage wins on Saturday - he was second fastest on seven of the remaining eight tests – gave him victory by 5mins 8secs over the Skoda Fabia S2000 of former Volkswagen works driver Neil Simpson, returning to the sport after a 12-year lay-off.

  With Dave Bellerby alongside him in the Procters Coaches Impreza WRC S7, Procter was second to Bird, just 6secs adrift, on Friday’s opening stage, but the turbo let go one stage two. At the finish, Bird said: “It was a shame Kevin went out early as I was looking forward to a battle with him and the challenge didn't materialise from one or two others as I expected. This is one of the toughest rallies in the UK with such a strong entry, so to win it for a second time was fantastic."

 

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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