PANKHURST RETURNS TO SOL RALLY BARBADOS

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PANKHURST RETURNS TO SOL RALLY BARBADOS

Former British Rally Championship class-winner Terry Pankhurst has unfinished business in the Caribbean, so returns for Sol Rally Barbados 2016 with a self-built machine designed for the task . . . and it all started when the DIMMA Car Styling boss bought an original rear spoiler from an iconic 1980s Group B Peugeot 205 T16 E2.
 
Having celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its premier event in 2015, the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) has announced that Sol RB16 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 3-5, with Scrutineering and King of the Hill the previous weekend, May 28/29. On-line entries opened on the official web site - www.rallybarbados.net – last Thursday (October 1), since when a record 25 have been posted in the first seven days.
 
Pankhurst, who lives in Cheshire, in the English north-west, told rallybarbados.net: “The return to Barbados is very special. I hit 60 next year and I’ve been planning it for a while, leading up to my birthday bucket list treat! The first requirement, of course, was a rally car and, being the event it is, I wanted to bring something interesting!
 
“A few years ago I found out that Danny and Ricky Morris, whom I used to sponsor in a Thundersaloon Peugeot 205 race car, had a genuine ex-works T16 rear spoiler. It took a year of negotiation to get that spoiler in my hands . . . but, once I had it, I knew that I had to build a car worthy of it.”
 
And that is where the Sol RB16 project started: over the winter of 2014-15, Pankhurst converted a Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI – built for David Higgins in 2000 by MSD – into a Peugeot 205 T16 Replica. Pankhurst explains: “The wheelbase is unaltered from the Lancer, but the dimensions of the T16 body have been scaled up in proportion, so it looks like a 205 but is actually bigger. The front inner wings remain, as do the A & B pillars, screen and front door apertures, while the front of the roof is original Evo steel, with a Kevlar T16 lookalike replacing the back. The floor is shortened behind the rear suspension and roll cage pick-ups, so no mods are necessary to the FIA Evo roll cage.”
 
In 2003 and ’04, Pankhurst drove another of his creations, a Peugeot 206WRC Replica, with a 365bhp Cosworth engine and Quaife four-wheel drive. He won Group B in the International RallySprints that preceded Rally Barbados at the time – he was also fastest overseas driver in ‘03, his time beaten by only four local drivers - but was less successful in the main event. He retired on the opening Hangman’s Hill stage on his first visit, when the Peugeot met a power pole with predictable consequences, then retired on Sunday morning in ‘04, although he claimed second in Group B, under the two-thirds rule that applied to Sol RB class results at the time.
 
He recalls: “The first time I came to Barbados, I had built a car, but had basically never even driven it before it was shipped. This time, we will be much better prepared. We are incredibly excited and my nephew Jamie is going to do as much co-driving as he can in the lead up to the event - his first taste was the Manx, when we ran first on the road as a Group B demonstration, and he loved it!”
 
 
Mackay ‘first past the post’, as 25 entries are submitted in week one
 
Co-driver ‘Mad Mo’ Downey won the first stage of Sol Rally Barbados 2016 last week . . . well, not exactly! But the crew did finally win the ‘first past the post’ accolade when he hit ‘send’ to submit the on-line entry for his regular driver, Barbados crowd favourite, Scotland’s Allan Mackay, and their hugely popular Ford Anglia WRC.
 
Their details were submitted mere seconds after the entry form went live last Thursday (October 1) on the official web site - www.rallybarbados.net - as Downey’s finger had been poised over the send button in anticipation. Of the record 25 entries received in the first week – it took 16 days to reach that total last year – all are from International crews, of which six are newcomers, reinforcing its reputation as a ‘bucket-list’ experience for overseas competitors.
 
Sol RB16 will be Mackay’s seventh visit to the island in his now-legendary Anglia WRC – the acronym stands for Well-Run Car – and he’ll once again be looking to combine competition and entertainment, as the crew seek a hat-trick of SuperModified 10 class wins, perhaps also to improve on their best overall finish, of 26th in 2014.
 
Sol Rally Barbados is a tarmac rally, with around 22 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the island’s Ministry of Transport & Works; Sol RB16 and the previous Sunday’s King of the Hill ‘shakedown’ event, are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2017. Sol RB16 marks the ninth 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

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