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courtesy of the Barbados Rally Club/Nicholas Bhajan Photography, Among the crowds at Sol Rally Barbados 2019 will be two lucky winners of the Autosport Plus on-line draw announced today
courtesy of the Barbados Rally Club/Nicholas Bhajan Photography, Winners for the past four years, Jeffrey Panton and Michael Fennell Jnr power through the night in the Ford Focus WRC06


Five-time winner Jeffrey Panton confirmed for Sol RB19

Autosport, Britain’s leading motor sport magazine, has partnered with the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) and the island’s Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) to offer a trip for two to Sol Rally Barbados 2019, the 30th running of the Club’s premier event. For two weeks from today (April 16), new and existing UK-based on-line Autosport Plus subscribers can enter a draw to be in with a chance to win return flights on Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick, 12 nights accommodation plus a rental car to join thousands of fans at the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International.

The winners will stay at Turtle Beach, a member of the Elegant Hotels group, which sponsors Britain’s Rob Swann, who has three times finished second in Sol Rally Barbados in his Subaru Impreza WRC S12B. This all-inclusive resort is in Dover, Christ Church, on the island’s south coast, half-way between the Grantley Adams International Airport and the capital, Bridgetown. Among many benefits, visitors enjoy complimentary meals and beverages, free WiFi and have access to a Fitness Centre, water sports lessons and a Dine Around programme at other Elegant Hotels.

With a rental car also part of the prize, the winners will be free to explore the 166 square miles of Barbados on their own, as well as joining in the social events organised by the BRC between the competition weekends. Sol RB19 will run from Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 2, with The Rally Show on the previous Saturday (May 25) followed by Flow King of the Hill at its new Stewarts Hill location on the Sunday.

Having first attended Sol RB17, Autosport’s International Editor Jack Benyon will return this year to an event he holds in high esteem: “It’s safe to say that Rally Barbados was one of the best experiences of my motor sport life. From the minute I stepped onto the island, I was made totally at home by both the rally organisers and the local residents.

“The standard of the rally was higher than expected. Although the stages are fairly short, drivers from all over the globe explained how testing and challenging they were, especially in the ever-present Barbados heat. The social aspect is phenomenal, with a host of activities for residents and visitors alike, and I have kept in contact with many of the people I met in Barbados, competing against and meeting many in the UK including Rally Director Neil Barnard, who visited Wales Rally GB last year.

“The combination of fun in the sun and feisty competition on the stages makes Rally Barbados one of the best events I have ever attended, and I hope that I can deliver content from the event which is worthy of one of the best events on the international calendar. Whoever wins is off on a trip they will never forget and I’m delighted that we can offer this prize, thanks to Sol Rally Barbados and its island partners.”

Neil Barnard, the Rally Club’s PRO said: “We have got to know Jack very well over the past couple of years and have enjoyed some great coverage of our event on-line at Autosport and in print in Motorsport News. Putting this great package together, thanks to the TDC and Elegant Hotels, will not only bring valuable exposure for our event, but also make a couple of Autosport Plus subscribers very happy! We look forward to welcoming them to Barbados and giving them a real taste of rallying in the Caribbean.”

Five-time winner Jeffrey Panton confirmed for Sol RB19

Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and Michael Fennell Jnr confirmed their participation in Sol Rally Barbados 2019 yesterday (April 15) in the Rubis/Sandals Barbados/KIG Ford Focus WRC06 in which they have won the event for the past four years. Panton was also the first regional winner of the former International All-Stage Rally - in 1998, with fellow-countryman John de Mercado in a Toyota Celica GT4 – and has a 100 per cent finishing record in his 14 previous visits, although he failed to start the Super Special at the Vaucluse Raceway in 2004, when lying fifth, and was excluded from the overall results.

With steely determination and skilful driving, Panton has built a reputation as the region’s most successful driver over the past two decades and more, enjoying an unrivalled partnership with co-driver Fennell, whom he always credits for his contribution; after their fourth straight Sol RB victory last year, Panton said: “Mike really does all the ground work, I only drive, and his efforts play a big role in the success.”

Twice the Caribbean Rally Champion (1996 & ’98), Panton is unique in having won regional rallying’s ‘Big Three’ - tarmac in Barbados (1998, 2015-‘18), gravel in Jamaica (nine times between 1994 and 2015) and Trinidad & Tobago (2011 & ‘13) - and also finished on the podium in all three for two straight seasons (2012 & ‘13). Since 2012, when he bought the Focus WRC06 in which two-time World Champion Marcus Gronholm won the 2007 Galway International, he has regularly rewritten the region’s record books, having also added a hat-trick of Flow King of the Hill victories last year and been crowned the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Champion Driver for the past two years.

Already confirmed for the WRC class are Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew (Sol/CO Williams Sand & Lime/Automotive Art Subaru Impreza WRC S12B) and British crews Kevin Procter/Patrick Walsh (Procters Coaches/Swift Signs & Shirts Ford Fiesta) and Graham Coffey/Jack Morton, Coffey having replaced his former Impreza S12B with a Fiesta built to the same spec as Procter’s.

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB19 marks the 12th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fourth by communications provider Flow.

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