T&T EVOS BOOST SOL RALLY BARBADOS 4WD NUMBERS

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T&T EVOS BOOST SOL RALLY BARBADOS 4WD NUMBERS

Ex-Champion’s return confirmed as on-line entry goes ‘live’

Reigning Trinidad & Tobago Rally Club (TTRC) Group A Champion Ryan Pinheiro will make his Sol Rally Barbados debut this year, alongside fellow-countryman David Coelho, who won the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Group N Championship in 2015. The first regional entries to be confirmed, their two Mitsubishi Lancer Evos bring to eight the number of four-wheel-drive cars so far listed, with more than 20 expected to appear on the final entry.

  As the BRC celebrates its 60th Anniversary, the Club’s blue riband event Sol RB17 will run from Friday to Sunday, June 2-4, with Flow King of the Hill, on which the seeding for the main event is based, the previous Sunday (May 28). Since entries opened on October 1 on the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net, approaching 60 have been posted, almost three-quarters of the total from overseas.

  Sol RB has been on Pinheiro’s ‘bucket list’ for some years and he has been a regular at the event for the past decade, initially as a spectator but more recently working as service crew with Coelho. Pinheiro and his team at REV Tech have treated his Group A Evo V, backed by Lange Trinidad, Gulf Oil and Exedy Clutches, to an off-season bare-shell rebuild in readiness for 2017; the car is tuned by Terry Stamper, while Pinheiro’s co-driver will be Ross Vieira, who has sat with him since his first rally.

  Pinheiro started competing in Autocross in 2001 in a Peugeot 205, winning multiple titles until 2009, changing cars over the years, including a Subaru Impreza and Evo VI, before taking a break. He then prepared an Evo IV for gravel rallies, finishing fifth overall in the 2014 TTRC Championship, third in Group and Rookie of the Year.

  In 2015, things did not go quite so well: “We were fifth in the championship again, after a roll put us out of the running. The car was rebuilt as an Evo V, completing the year second in group. Last year was good, though, on the podium for all events barring one - we met a immovable object on a stage, which ultimately cost us the championship – but we finished second overall and Group A Champions.”

  Coelho finally put four years of disappointing DNFs in Sol RB behind him in 2015, when he and regular co-driver, T&T-based Brit James Harris, finished third in Group N (18th overall) in the former Geoff Noel Evo IX, one of the results which carried him to the BRC GpN title, when he tackled all but one of the season’s events. Last year, he finished second in GpN on Sol RB16 (17th overall), but this year moves back up the Groups, having shipped in the Subway/Wi Ride/Total/VP Racing Fuels Evo IX he previously campaigned here in WRC-1.

  A former T&T karting and one-make saloon car circuit-racing champion, he is now also a regular at Bushy Park Barbados in the Suzuki Challenge Series SR3 Cup, racing a Radical sports car; he is looking forward to Sol RB17 and, with Pinheiro, will be well-supported by TTRC members although, as Pinheiro points out: “I think, with that crowd, partying is the first order of business!”

Ex-Champion’s return confirmed as on-line entry goes ‘live’

Former Barbados Rally Club (BRC) 2wd Champion Logan Watson’s return to competition after nearly four seasons away is confirmed by the on-line entry list for Sol Rally Barbados 2017, which is now ‘live’ on the official web site, www.rallybarbados.net. Driving a BMW M3, Watson lost out by two points to Neil Armstrong (Toyota Starlet) in the 2wd Championship’s inaugural season in 2011, but wrapped up the title the following year, along with his second consecutive SuperModified 11 class win.

  Watson and brother Rhett swapped their two- and four-door BMWs for 2013, but Logan was injured in a non-motorsport accident in Canada, where he was studying, from which his recuperation has been a long process. Rhett then added a hat-trick of class titles (in SM12), also winning the 2wd Championship and the coveted Champion Driver title in 2014 & ’15, to create the M3’s remarkable record.

  Logan is now ready for action again, however, and the siblings have been working steadily to prepare their latest acquisition, the two-door M3 driven to 15th place on Sol RB13 by Martin Atwell, for Logan’s return in the first Motoring Club of Barbados Inc event in March. Logan said: “I’ll be taking it one step at a time. I don’t have any sponsors confirmed yet, they seem that bit harder to find nowadays. But I should be able to confirm a co-driver after the first MCBI event.”

 

Sol Rally Barbados (June 2-4, 2017) and Flow King of the Hill (May 28) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB17 marks the 10th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the second by communications provider Flow.

Ryan Pinheiro/Ross Vieira are pictured flying high at Rally Trinidad 2016 in the REV Tech Evo V - credit Kasey Ramoutar/trinituner.com

David Coelho/James Harris are pictured on Sol Rally Barbados last year in their former Total Group N Evo IX - credit Himal Reece/justbajan.com

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