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Former winners Bird, Panton & Skeete head 93-car entry

Sol Rally Barbados has attracted more than 40 overseas entries for the fourth straight year, maintaining its global reputation as a ‘must-do’ event for crews across the world. The provisional entry list of 93 crews was confirmed at today’s (Wednesday) Media Briefing at Mahogany Ridge, St James, along with a number of changes to the event’s format, which organisers believe will create a stern test of skill and endurance for the 29th running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) blue riband event on June 1 to 3.

  There is a new location for the Ceremonial Start – crews will drive straight from the presentation ramp into the event’s first competitive stage at the Vaucluse Raceway in St Thomas – while there has been a significant refresh of the route. Saturday will be longer than in the recent past, with 13 special stages, including a night-time loop of four tests in the north of the island, while slightly longer Sunday stages in the east will lead to the final stage, timed for inclusion in the results, and after-party at Bushy Park Barbados.

  Title sponsor since 2008, Sol was represented today by General Manager (Barbados), Ezra Prescod, who said: “It has been our greatest pleasure to have been the title sponsor for 11 exciting years and we are forever appreciative of the Barbados Rally Club for giving us the opportunity to play our part in such a major way.”

  The Rally Show on Saturday, May 26, has also moved to a new home, in the expansive grounds of the former Banks Facility at Wildey, St Michael; it will start an hour earlier than before, at 1.00pm, offering fans unrivalled opportunities to meet local, regional and international competitors, with entertainment for all the family, driver interviews on the Main Stage and a Mega Autograph Signing Session.

  Flow King of the Hill on the Sunday returns to Hangman’s Hill, St Thomas, with four official timed runs; as usual, the results will be used to seed the running order for Sol Rally Barbados, but KotH will take on greater significance for local competitors, as it was confirmed today that it will also be the first round of the new stand-alone BRC Flow SuperSprint Series, with two further events to follow during the year.

  Alan Harris, Flow’s Communications Manager, said: “From a sponsor’s perspective, we are extremely pleased with the rapid growth of the event, especially as it will now play a key role in the new Barbados Rally Club Flow SuperSprint Series, of which we are delighted to be title sponsor.”

  Rally Club PRO Neil Barnard told the Media Briefing: “The crews will need to be on it from the start. At Vaucluse, cars will run in reverse order of seeding, side-by-side in pairs, for two laps of the RallySprint track, a distance of 5.80kms. It is a challenging start to the event, as was demonstrated during last year’s BRC Winter Rally, and requires real concentration.

  “Proper' night stages are back! On Saturday night, a four-stage loop after the dinner halt will use two stage venues that are close together, so should run quickly and efficiently. With slightly longer stages, the final day looks set to be more challenging than in the recent past, with the contrast between Saturday’s short and bumpier stages and Sunday’s long and faster stages even more pronounced than usual.”

Former winners Bird, Panton & Skeete head 93-car entry

Former UK National Rally Champion Paul Bird (Ford Focus WRC08) returns after a two-year hiatus to face Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton (Focus WRC06), who completed a hat-trick of Sol RB wins last year, and island legend Roger Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12B), 13-time winner of the BRC’s premier event. Between them, these three have won every event since Sol RB10, a run of success Britain’s Kevin Procter (Ford Fiesta) and Rob Swann (Impreza S12B) are hoping to bring to an end.

  The 43-strong overseas entry is spread right through the field, local drivers facing regional or international competition - sometimes both – in all of the classifications. The second-highest influx of overseas 4wd cars in the event’s history, 20, has contributed to Group A being the best-subscribed class for the first time, with quantity matched by quality; Ryan Champion (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) and Tom Preston (Skoda Fabia R5) won the East African Classic Safari and the Wales Rally GB National event respectively last year, while Andy Scott makes it two R5s for the first time with his Fiesta.

  Including the host nation, the entry lists participants from 13 countries, with 80 overseas drivers or co-drivers, 15 new to the event; for the second straight year, Sol Rally Barbados boasts a record number of female competitors (22, up from 18 in 2017), while there are cars from 17 manufacturers, Ford best-represented with 20, followed by BMW (19), Toyota (12) and Mitsubishi (10).

  This year, there are three crews making the 28,000-kilometre round trip from New Zealand with their families and friends, to join competitors from Canada, Great Britain and the United States in the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International. The Geest Line freighter Baltic Klipper set sail from the British south coast port of Dover last Sunday (May 6) for its voyage across the Atlantic.


SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2018 Special Stage Schedule

Times indicate Car 0 due

Friday, June 1

1830    Ceremonial Start, Vaucluse Raceway

1830    SS1 – Vaucluse Raceway (5.80km)

Saturday, June 2

1030    Restart – Greenland Agricultural Station

1045    SS2 – Spring Vale 1 (4.80km)

1110    SS3 – Automotive Art Hangman’s Hill 1 (6.30km)

1145    SS4 – Sailor Gully South 1 (4.30km)

1245    SS5 – Spring Vale 2 (4.80km)

1310    SS6 – Automotive Art Hangman’s Hill 2 (6.30km)

1345    SS7 – Sailor Gully South 2 (4.30km)

Service and lunch halt – Greenland Agricultural Station

1530    SS8 – Spring Vale 3 (4.80km)

1555    SS9 – Automotive Art Hangman’s Hill 3 (6.30km)

1630    SS10 – Sailor Gully South 3 (4.30km)

Dinner halt – Greenland Agricultural Station

1835    SS11 – Pickerings 1 (4.60km)

1900    SS12 – Sailor Gully North 1 (4.30km)

1955    SS13 – Pickerings 2 (4.60km)

2020    SS14 – Sailor Gully North 2 (4.30km)

Total stage distance, leg 1 - 69.80km

Sunday, June 3

0930    Restart – Bushy Park Barbados

0945    SS15 – Toyo Tires Padmore 1 (5.60km)

1010    SS16 – Kendal 1 (7.00km)

1040    SS17 - Malvern 1 (6.20km)

1140    SS18 – Toyo Tires Padmore 2 (5.60km)

1205    SS19 - Kendal 2 (7.00km)

1235    SS20 – Malvern 2 (6.20km)

Service and lunch halt - Bushy Park Barbados

1415    SS21 – Toyo Tires Padmore 3 (5.60km)

1440    SS22 - Kendal 3 (7.00km)

1510    SS23 – Malvern 3 (6.20km)

1615    SS24 – Bushy Park Barbados (2.00km)

Total stage distance, leg 2 - 58.40km

Total overall stage distance - 128.20km


SOL RALLY BARBADOS 2018 Programme of key events

Saturday, May 26 - The Rally Show

+ 1.00pm to 6.00pm

+ Banks Facility, Wildey, St Michael

Sunday, May 27 - Flow King of the Hill

+ 10.00am to approx 5.00pm

+ Hangman’s Hill (4.30km), St Thomas; four official timed runs

+ round two of the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Driver’s & Class Championships

+ round one of the BRC Flow SuperSprint Series

+ for overseas competitors, a shake-down before Sol RB18

Wednesday, May 30 - Sol RB18 Briefing Meeting

+ 6.30pm, for competitors, crews and rally officials only

+ Mahogany Ridge, Plum Tree Road, St James

Friday, June 1 - Sol Rally Barbados 2018 – day 1

+ Ceremonial Start at Vaucluse Raceway, St Thomas, at 6.30pm

+ one stage at Vaucluse Raceway

Saturday, June 2 - Sol Rally Barbados 2018 – day 2

+ round three of the BRC Driver’s & Class Championships (includes Friday’s stages)

+ restart at 10.30am from Greenland Agricultural Station, St Andrew, which is also the Service Park for the day

+ 13 stages at four venues

Sunday, June 3 - Sol Rally Barbados 2018 – day 3

+ round four of the BRC Driver’s & Class Championships

+ restart at 09.30am from Bushy Park Barbados, St Philip, which is also the Service Park for the day

+ 10 stages at four venues

+ Final Special Stage & Rally Finish at Bushy Park Barbados

Monday, June 5 - approx 4.00pm – Sol RB18 Prizegiving

+ The Boatyard, Bay Street, St Michael


Sol Rally Barbados (June 1-3) and Flow King of the Hill (May 27) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017. Title sponsors: The Sol Group and Flow. Major partners: Automotive Art, Banks, Chefette, Simpson Motors, Toyo Tires. Partners: Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Geest Line, Tourism Development Corporation. Associate sponsor: Stoute’s Car Rental

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