Swansea Bay Rally - 19 Jul 07

Posted: July 27, 2008 3:18 PM - 9037 Hits

Round 5 - 2008 ANCRO MSA National Rally Championship
Round 4 - 2008 Fiesta SportingTrophy UK
Round 5 - 2008 Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge (UK)

Abu Dhabi Junior team UK debut Successfull

Posted: July 27, 2008 3:18 PM

The DGM team had a large presence at the Swansea Bay rally held on the 19th July, regular Mitsubishi evolution challenge competitors Neil McCance and Richard Cathcart continued their title campaigns in the tightly contested one make series although a notable absentee was the third DGM driver Jonathan Greer choosing to contest the Rally Isle of man in line with his strong performances in the British Rally championship which the isle of man makes up the third round.

New faces to uk rallying are Majed Al Shamsi and Khalil Al Shaikh, the two emerati drivers make up part of the Abu Dhabi Junior Rally team who are contesting an event outside the middle east for the first time in their careers. The scheme a brainchild of Ford WRC driver khalid Al Qassami and backed by the Abu Dhabi tourism authority hopes to find a young driver capable of racing the best in the world in the World Rally Championship. The DGM team were running both drivers on the event while they contested the clubman section of the rally.

Rounding out the five car team was another fiesta piloted by young Irishman Stephen Wright, Stephen contested the first two rounds of the Irish Fiesta sporting trophy before taking a break to concentrate on his A Levels. With his studies now complete he intends to contest the remaining fiesta events in both ireland and the UK. Stephen immediately showed his pace by setting a time good enough for 11th place after stage 1 and only 12 seconds of the leader. The good run was unfortunately brought to a halt on stage two with driveshaft failure.

The Mitsubishis of Cathcart and McCance finished the 60 mile event in second and third place respectively, Cathcart finishing only 3.2 seconds behind eventual winner David Bogie showing just how closely fought the rally had been. The season long battle between the two drivers will continue in the ulster with only one point seperating the two with two rounds remaining. Neil McCance’s season so far has yeilded two thirds and a second place leaving him third in the championship and one of the few drivers who stand a realistic chance of lifting the title.

The Abu Dhabi Junior Team succesfully completed their first taste of forest rallying and were happy to have learnt a lot from the trip to the UK, their pace was impressive considering the steep learning curve they faced. The crew would have ended up 12th and 13th in the Fiesta trophy had they registered.

The next big event for the DGM team is The Ulster International, the local rally for all the drivers and one they are particularly looking forward to, the ulster makes up round 4 of the British Rally Championship, round 6 of the Mitusbishi Evolution Challenge and round 5 of the Irish Fiesta Sporting Trophy so the action will come thick and fast.

In Car

Posted: July 22, 2008 11:11 PM

Damian Cole/Cliff Simmons (Hyundai Accent WRC)

Video Clips

Posted: July 22, 2008 11:04 PM

Deja-vu for Daniel with victory in sight

Posted: July 22, 2008 10:37 PM

For Enniskerry rally driver Daniel Barry and his co-driver Mark Bowens from Castlemartr , it was a case of deja-vu in round five of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - the Swansea Bay Rally - when they recorded their second non-finish in as many events.

This result follows a near perfect start to the season for the Irish 24-year old, having scored three podium finishes in the first three rounds in the highly competitive one-make rally series for Mitsubishi Lancers and therefore he headed to South Wales as the championship leader.

To get back to his winning ways following round four of the Evo Challenge, Daniel and Mark contested the Quinton Stags Rally at the beginning of July, when they convincingly won their class and finished fifth overall.

With six stages in the forests regularly used by the Wales Rally GB (the UK’s round of the World Rally Championship) and with just one point separating the top four drivers in the Mitsubishi championship, the battle for supremacy was destined to be fierce. Adding to the challenge were the conditions, the overnight rain making the morning’s gravel stages more slippery than usual.

Opting for a cautious approach, Daniel was satisfied to emerge from the first stage third of the Mitsubishi runners. He then upped the pace on stage two, but an overshoot at one of the junctions meant that he lost time and dropped to fifth, albeit still only 17 seconds off the lead.

Following the first service halt of the day, Daniel got the bit between his teeth for stage three and, following a determined effort, posted a time quicker than all the other Evolution Challenge runners.

Now, with a chance of victory in sight, the former championship leader set off on stage four at similar pace, only to be caught out when he had to avoid an un-seen pile of logs on the inside of a corner, the evasive action causing his Lancer to slam into a pile of logs on the outside of the bend. Thankfully, he and co-driver Mark Bowens were unhurt, but the same could be not be said for their car.

“Sometimes this sport can be so frustrating”, said Daniel. “One moment everything is going well and you are challenging for the lead, the next minute you can be off the road and out of the rally. However, our championship hopes are far from over, so it’s now a case of fixing the car and getting ready for the next round in a few weeks time.”

The forthcoming event to which Daniel refers is round six of the Evolution Challenge, the Ulster International Rally, which takes place on 22nd & 23rd August. Based in Armagh, the event is the second of two all-asphalt rallies in the Mitsubishi championship’s seven round season.

Daniel’s 2008 campaign is supported by: Tech-Plus, Irish Shipping and Transport, BPI Telecom, Henco under-floor heating and SC Signs.

Cathcart stays in Mitsubishi championship hunt.

Posted: July 22, 2008 10:27 PM

Fermanagh driver Richard Cathcart and his navigator Martin Brady from Meath kept their challenge for the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge firmly on track as they scored another second place at the Swansea Bay rally in Wales.

The championship restarted after its mid term break of almost 2 months and despite feeling rusty from the hiatus it was Cathcart who was the fastest car on stage 1 and he lead the chasing pack of Mitsubishi and held 6th overall. A simple problem on stage 2 almost had drastic consequences, on the way into the first corner Richard found his foot slip right off the break pedal and the corner was fast approaching, it transpired that muck was on the brake pedal and the problem nearly sent the car sailing off the road in two separate places on the stage as Richard struggled to try to wipe off the muck with his left foot. We were lucky said navigator Martin, "at first I didn't know what the problem was we almost completely missed the first corner but just slid slightly past it but when we came to the next downhill corner and I knew Richard was working so hard to get the car stopped and there was a deep ditch approaching I knew we had a problem, he did well to stop something as simple as a mucky shoe almost ending our rally"

The pair continued on over the fast Welsh forestry stages and the remainder of the rally saw the loss of their championship rivals as Danny Barry went off the road on the notoriously difficult stage 4, as did the other Irish challenger Keith Cronin. In fact Cathcart touched slightly the ditch at the same corner that was to catch out Cronin, and this bent an intercooler pipe on the front of the Fermanagh man's car. This damgage cost a few seconds but luckily the rally was heading for a service halt so there was an opportunity to have it repaired by Richards Mechanics who are from the renowned experts at the Carryduff based DGM team.

This left Cathcart and Scotland's David Bogie were leaving service for the last two stages and the gap was just 6.4 seconds in Bogie's favour with 19 miles of stages to go. Richard and Martin set of in determined mood and it showed as the return to the stage where earlier the mucky boots had almost saw them stuck in a hedge now saw them fastest and taking 3.1 seconds from Bogie in just 6 miles. With one 13 mile stage remaining the hopes were high that the chance for victory was close.

The last stage however was shortened by over 2 miles due to a problem with a collapsed cattle grid which the course had to pass over, so the chance to overhaul Bogie was reduced slightly. Yet it was not to be, Bogie was faster through the stage by 0.9 of a second and this saw him take the victory, the closest finish in the championship all year.

Richard had got second in the Mitsubishi class and 7th overall and this result sees him hold onto his position in the hunt for the championship and just one point behind Bogie as the championships next round moves onto home ground with the Ulster rally which is based in Armagh at the end of August. So with just one point separating the battle it's game on and all to play for.

Richard Cathcart & Martin Brady are supported by www.frcathcartltd.com and Irelands Home Interiors and Living.

UK Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge - Bogies does it again

Posted: July 22, 2008 10:23 PM

For the third time this season David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae sprayed the champagne, when they crossed the finish line of round five of the 2008 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, the Swansea Bay Rally – which took place on 19th July. They took the lead on stage four and had to battle right to the end, as second-placed Richard Cathcart/Martin Brady fought back in the closing stages.

The event started and finished from SA1, Swansea’s rapidly developing dock-side area and featured six-timed special stages in forests which are usually used by the Wales Rally GB. The three loops of two stages were separated by two service halts, providing the nine Evolution Challenge competitors - a figure that represented 25% of the National event’s entry - with a competitive distance of 64 miles.

With just one-point separating the top four drivers in the series standings, this event was acknowledged to be a potential turning point for championship positions and, leading up to the rally, there was eager anticipation that a battle royal was about to unfold.

Fastest out of the blocks was round-two winner Cathcart, who stopped the first-stage clock one-second ahead of Keith Cronin, who was in-turn one second ahead of Daniel Barry, who also was one second ahead of Bogie – the Evolution Challenge living up to it’s reputation of being the most closely-fought rally championship in the UK.

In stage two the damp conditions made grip levels unpredictable - not just on the stages, but also on Cathcart’s boots – his foot slipping off the brake pedal and causing him to overshoot the first corner. Also caught out by the conditions was Barry, who also had a time-delaying overshoot. But there were no such issues for Cronin, who shot into the Evo Challenge lead by setting the fastest time by 4.4 seconds.

At the first service halt the time sheets showed Cronin leading from Bogie in second, Cathcart third, Nik Elsmore fourth and Barry now fifth, just ahead of Neil McCance who was aiming to lay the spectre of his previous Swansea Bay non-finishes to rest.

Jonathan Sparks was perhaps the unluckiest of the Evo Challenge runners, when a turbo pipe came loose just a few 100 yards into the first stage, forcing him to stop and investigate. With the help of his co-driver’s bootlaces he was able to fix the problem and get back to the service halt, albeit with over ten minutes lost.

With a delay in proceedings due to a problem in stage three when the earlier Clubmans Rally ran through Rhondda Forest, there was an agonising wait of over an hour before the action recommenced. Barry went faster through SS3 than all other Evo runners by 1.1 seconds, but it all went wrong for the former championship leader in SS4 when he had to avoid an un-seen pile of logs on the inside of a corner, the consequent evasive action causing his Lancer to slam into a pile of logs on the outside of the bend. Thankfully, he and co-driver Mark Bowens were unhurt, but the same could be not be said for their car.

Stage four was also the end of the line for Cronin, who went wide exiting a hairpin, his Evo slipped into a ditch and, although there was no damage they were stuck fast and unable to extract the car from its muddy predicament. In contrast, Elsmore was lucky to get out of the stage when a faulty throttle sensor caused his car’s engine to cut out with just a few 100 yards to go. He was therefore fortunate enough to be able to rely on gravity, due to a long downhill section to the finish line.

At the second service halt results showed Bogie leading by 7.4 seconds ahead of Cathcart, who was reported that his car was handling strangely and was down on power due to a squashed intercooler pipe. McCance was now up to third, with Elsmore relieved to still be in the hunt and holding fourth place.

With his car restored to full mechanical health, Cathcart proceeded to claw back 4.1 seconds on Bogie in SS5, which meant that as they started the last stage, there was just 2.3 seconds between them.

After a flat-out charge on the sixth and final stage, Bogie posted a time 0.9 seconds faster than Cathcart and, in doing so, clinched his third Evo Challenge victory of the season by a margin of 3.2 seconds. McCance was delighted to make it back to Swansea and claim a place on the podium, while Elsmore was happy with fourth, considering the problems he had encountered earlier.

Fifth went to Miles Johnstone, who had kept out of trouble all day and hardly put a foot wrong, whilst sixth-placed Tom Naughton was over the moon, having enjoyed a trouble-free run with his re-built car. Having had to contend with a puncture on stage six following his first stage delay, Sparks was also pleased to get to the finish and claim seventh place in the process.

“With the championship so close, this was very important to have a good result on this event”, said Bogie. “I had to drive absolutely flat out on the last stage to make sure I stayed in the lead, so I’m delighted to take my third Evo Challenge victory of the season and to be leading the championship.”

Bogie now tops the Evolution Challenge tables by one point from Cathcart with two rounds left to go, the sixth and penultimate event taking place on 22nd & 23rd August, with a switch to asphalt stages and a trip to Northern Ireland for the Ulster International Rally.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is backed by Mitsubishi Motors UK and Ralliart, with support from its associate sponsors: Pirelli tyres, Speedline Corse wheels, Sparco racewear, Performance Friction Brakes, Sunoco Race Fuels, ADR Motorsport, Walkinshaw Performance and PIAA lights, who sponsor the junior award for under 25 year old drivers.

1 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) 1:01:44.8
2 Richard Cathcart (Enniskillen)/Martin Brady (Navan) 1:01:48.0
3 Neil McCance (Comber)/Graham Hopewell (Worcester) A 1:03:05.9
4 Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Craig Drew (Bream) 1:04:31.6
5 Miles Johnston (York)/Ian Bevan (Holywell) 1:05:46.3
6 Thomas Naughton (Bury)/Horace Saville (Bury) 1:13:12.6
7 Jonathan Sparks (Glastonbury)/Chris Davies (Abergavenny) 1:21:42.0

SS4 Daniel Barry (Enniskerry)/Mark Bowens (Cork) Accident
SS4 Keith Cronin (Cork)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) Accident

Fiestas - Swansea Bay falls to Evans

Posted: July 22, 2008 10:19 PM

Seventeen registered Ford Fiesta ST crews took to the start of the Swansea Bay Clubmans' Rally last weekend on the fourth round of the Global Brands supported VK Ford Fiesta SportingTrophy UK. The rally based around the new look Swansea SA1 Waterfront complex took in 44 competitive stage miles in the classic Wales Rally GB stages in the South Wales valleys. At the end of a very compact event with just four stages to test the crews, the winner was current FST championship leader, Elfyn Evans (19) from Machynelleth and his co-driver Gareth Roberts.

This was an event that will be remembered by FST series regulars as the event where the winner changed between the end of the final stage and the prize giving - as intervention by the event organisers in deciding the allocated times for a disrupted stage changed the composition of the top three.

Competitors setting off from the SA1 Waterfront start venue early on Saturday morning faced cool but dry conditions as the overnight rain cleared. These conditions particularly suited the Pirelli K6 compound tyre, developed by series partners Pirelli to provide consistent performance and superb levels of grip in these rapidly changing road conditions. As this event is unique in offering just four long stages for the competitors, it was imperative that crews where quick 'out of the blocks'.

SS1, the 6.6 miles of the Walters stage saw Appleby driver, Kris Hall (18) and his new co-driver, the experienced Shaun O'Gorman, stop the clock with the fastest time - just 0.9s faster than Severn Valley runner up, Max Utting (22) and his local co-driver Huw Mathias. One second slower than Utting was Elfyn Evans - making a strong start to defend his championship lead. In trouble on the first stage was Kyle Orr (19) from Dromore, Northern Ireland, who slid wide on a corner and bent the rear suspension on the car, damaging the radiator system in the same incident which in turn caused the car to overheat.

Crews then had the chance to service at the renowned Walters Arena venue, which allowed the hard working support crews the rare opportunity to watch their drivers compete. For Kyle Orr's support team it was a particularly tough test as they fought to repair the car and get Orr back out on the stages, gaining just 40s of time penalties in the process.

SS2 was the 8.4 miles of the Rhondda stage. Fastest on the stage was once again Kris Hall with Elfyn Evans again second fastest - just two seconds slower. Third fastest on the stage, making a cautious start by his own high standards, was Alastair Fisher (19) from Trillick, Northern Ireland and his co-driver Paul Morris. Fisher was keen to make certain of finishing the event after retiring from the third round of the series, the Severn Valley stages after becoming stuck in a ditch. In trouble was FST UK series newcomer, Stephen Wright (18) from Co. Monaghan, Northern Ireland. Stephen is a series regular in the FST Ireland series but this was his first event in the UK gravel series and his promising start was brought to a halt with driveshaft failure.

SS3, Resolven at 15.3 miles, the longest stage of the rally was to see a dramatic change in the leaderboard of the event. Fastest on the stage, an impressive 12s faster than the next FST driver was again Kris Hall. Second fastest was Elfyn Evans' team-mate - the rapidly improving Meilyr Evans (18) from Machynelleth and his co-driver, Andrew Edwards.

However, a problem was identified with the layout of the special stage and with only six FST crews having completed the stage, the organisers took the decision to cancel the stage. In trouble was Elfyn Evans who was caught out by a deceptive corner and rolled - heavily damaging both the front and rear of the car but fortunately landing on the wheels - pointing in the right direction and with very little mechanical damage. Elfyn quickly regained his composure and finished the stage losing just under 30s to the leader, Hall.

Crews could once again benefit from the attention of the hard-working technicians with a second chance to service at the Walters Arena venue. Here it was the team of Elfyn Evans that had to pull out all the stops to repair the car on time. With former British Rally Champion and team principal, Gwyndaf Evans assisting the mechanics - Elfyn's car was checked, repaired and able to leave service with no time lost.

The final stage of the day for the competitors in the Clubmans' rally was the 13.2 miles of SS4, Margam. To prove that the previous stage accident had not dampened his spirits, Elfyn Evans stopped the clocks with the fastest time - a fantastic achievement. Second fastest, just half a second slower than Evans was Alastair Fisher. Third fastest on the final test was Tom Walster (21) from Nottingham and his new co-driver for this event, Welshman Andy Morgan, with the final stage effort from Fisher being enough to take him past Walster in the overall classification. Happy with his day's dominant performance, Kris Hall was content to finish the last stage equal fourth fastest with Meilyr Evans - 8s slower than Elfyn Evans.

When crews arrived back at the finish in Swansea, the result of the event was in question as stewards met to discuss the allocation of times for the interrupted third stage. After deliberation, the organisers agreed to scrub all times for the stage, which, in turn, meant that Elfyn Evans and Gareth Roberts would win by virtue of their faster time on the final stage.

The revised times relegated Kris Hall and Shaun O'Gorman to a disappointed second but they where happy to have demonstrated a confident and mature performance that resulted in them winning the Castrol Hard Charger Award for their efforts.

Third in the overall results were Alastair Fisher and Paul Morris, happy to have had a trouble-free event after three non-finishes in recent weeks.

Fourth, losing out on a podium position on the final stage was Tom Walster and Andy Morgan; Walster missed the first two rounds of the FST UK series but quickly again confirmed himself as a championship front runner.

Fifth of the FST runners was Meilyr Evans and Andrew Roberts, doing just enough on the final stage to hold off Max Utting and Huw Mathias into sixth. Utting was happy to jump to second in the overall championship standings with just two rounds to go. James Everard (20) from Hull and co-driver Sam Collis survived a last minute scare, sustaining suspension damage after the finish of the last stage but surviving to finish seventh, although slipping one place in the overall championship standings to third. Eight was the rapidly improving John Lloyd from Penrith and his experienced co-driver Steve Egglestone.

Winner of the MIS Insurance Most Improved Driver of the Day was Luke Francis (18) from Denbigh and his new co-driver for the event - Jon Madoc-Jones.

Winner Elfyn Evans (18) from Machynelleth said:
"The first two stages were fine but on the third stage we were too quick into a corner and we rolled. We didn't lose too much time on the stage; we got to service, fixed the bodywork, and then had a good run on the last stage and assumed we had finished second. We were very surprised to hear that the organisers had cancelled the third stage. It was a lucky win for us but a good result for the team nonetheless."

Final results
1 Elfyn Evans / Gareth Roberts 31:51.4 30 £750
2 Kris Hall / Shaun O'Gorman 31:55.5 25 £600
3 Alastair Fisher / Paul Morris 32:04.2 22 £450
4 Tom Walster / Andy Morgan 32:07.6 20 £375
5 Meilyr Evans / Andrew Edwards 32:11.7 18 £300
6 Max Utting / Huw Mathias 32:20.0 16 £225
7 James Everard / Sam Collis 32:29.9 14 £150
8 John Lloyd / Steve Egglestone 32:52.7 13 £75

Maximum Points For Dodd As Weston Wins Swansea Bay National Rally

Posted: July 20, 2008 11:21 PM

Aberdeen driver Dave Weston claimed the overall victory on today's Swansea Bay National Rally as Marcus Dodd took his second win of the season in the 2008 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship.

Weston and co-driver Aled Davies led from the outset in their Ford Focus WRC and never looked back as they finished 20 seconds ahead of the leading gravel series crew Dodd and co-driver Andrew Bargery in the Hyundai Accent WRC.

Championship leaders Jon Ingram and Ian Allsop finished third overall and took second in the series in their Subaru Impreza WRC as Steve Perez and Stephen McAuley were fourth in their Focus WRC.

Ingram still leads the title chase but with Dodd's victory, and the two dropped scores to be taken into account, it is still all to play for.

"I'm pleased with the win but it's a shame someone didn't finish between Jon and I to keep the championship more open," Dodd said. "We had a push on stage five but we were a bit sensible on the last one."

Dodd and Bargery took charge at the top of the championship leaderboard from Ingram/Allsop on stage four after Ingram drove through the test in road mode and lost a bit of time. Dodd had his fair share of problems too as a brake seal went on stage three, but it cost him little time.

Julian Reynolds and Patrick Walsh finished fifth in their Impreza WRC after a relatively trouble-free run. Scottish crew David Bogie and Kevin Rae followed in sixth and took the honours in Group N and the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge in their Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Richard Cathcart and Martin Brady were second in Group N and the Evo Challenge, just 3.2 seconds behind Bogie/Rae, as they were seventh overall, taking sixth place in the Gravel Championship in their Evo 9 and made it to the finish despite an overshoot on stage two and a tyre problem on stage four.

The Hyundai Accent WRC of Damian Cole and Cliff Simmons finished eighth with Neil McCance and Graham Hopewell ninth in their Evo 9 with the crew suffering with a puncture on stage five. Euan Thorburn and Claire Mole rounded up the top 10 in their Subaru Impreza.

There were several retirements from the event. Keith Cronin and Greg Shinnors had been up to fifth on stage two in their Evo 9 but were forced out when they went off in stage four. Daniel Barry and Mark Bowens also fell foul of the stage four curse as they also went off whilst leading championship contenders Andy Burton and Shelley Rogerson also retired on stage four when they hit a bank and caused significant damage to their Peugeot Cosworth.

Roger Duckworth and Mark Broomfield, who had been fourth overall after stage four, went out on stage five when they broke a steering arm.

In the two-wheel drive challenge Nathan Crewe and John Connor wrapped up the title in their MG ZR as they won, finishing ahead of Alex Hack and Mark Sollaway in their Mk1 Ford Escort and the Fiat Punto of Rod Bennett and Henry Richardson. Harrogate brothers Mike and David Curtis took the prize in the Revolution Wheels Challenge.

In the ANCRO Rally Challenge Elfyn Evans and Gareth Roberts took the victory in their Ford Fiesta ST as they finished fourth overall in the Swansea Bay Clubmans Rally. Alastair Fisher and Paul Morris were runners-up in their Fiesta ST as they were eighth, followed by Tom Walster and Andy Morgan in their Fiesta ST in ninth.

The Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship returns for round six, the Trackrod National Rally on Saturday 27 September. 


Posted: July 20, 2008 11:17 PM

VK Kick Energy rally driver Steve Perez enjoyed his return to gravel in the 2008 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship with a superb fourth place finish overall in today's Swansea Bay Rally.

Driving the Ford Focus WRC, the Chesterfield businessman, along with Irish co driver Stephen McAuley battled their way up through the field after a steady start to continue their recent form which saw them win the Quinton Stages Rally a couple of weeks ago.

After taking it easy in the early stages in the classic Welsh forests, Perez upped the pace to lie in fifth position after the second service but a concerted effort on the final loop of stages saw him bag fourth place overall and with it scored third place points in the ANCRO Championship.

"We were a little steady on the first stage and we had a bit of a scare in testing on Friday when we met another car on the forest road. Stage three was OK but on SS4 the tyres were too soft and were moving around but other than that it was OK."

"The last two stages went better. It was my first time back out on the gravel on ANCRO for a while so I'm pleased to have got my pace back up towards the end of the rally" said Perez who was third fastest on stages five and six.

Full Results

Posted: July 20, 2008 11:15 PM

1 Dave Weston Snr/Aled Davies (Ford Focus WRC) 1:00:21.0
2 Marcus Dodd/Andrew Bargery (Hyundai Accent WRC) 1:00:41.0
3 Jon Ingram/Ian Allsop (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1:01:05.3
4 Steve Perez/Stephen McAuley (Ford Focus WRC) 1:01:14.5
5 Julian Reynolds/Patrick Walsh (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1:01:33.5
6 David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN 1:01:44.8
7 Richard Cathcart/Martin Brady (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN 1:01:48.0
8 Damian Cole/Cliff Simmons (Hyundai Accent WRC) 1:02:33.1
9 Neil McCance/Graham Hopewell (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN 1:03:05.9
10 Euan Thorburn/Claire Mole (Subaru Impreza) 1:03:50.4


Posted: July 17, 2008 9:10 AM

Round five of the 2008 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship heads for Wales for the second time in two months this forthcoming weekend when the Swansea Bay Rally takes place on Saturday (July 19th).

And with most of the leading crews in action in the classic Welsh forests once again, the finish ramp on Saturday evening should perhaps start to give one or two pointers towards the destiny of the various crowns in the ANCRO-organised series.

Quite surprisingly, the leading two drivers in the series, Jon Ingram (Subaru) and Andy Burton, have yet to appear on the official entry list but rumour has it that Burton in his radical Peugeot Cosworth will make it in time to the Swansea start ramp. Also missing is Irishman Stephen Moore (Ford Focus WRC) meaning a couple of drivers will be dropping this round as part of the two worst scores as per the championship regulations.

Assuming Burton competes, he'll face stiff opposition from defending ANCRO champion and last year's rally winner Marcus Dodd in his Hyundai Accent WRC and they, along with respective co drivers Shelley Rogerson and Andrew Bargery will be looking to close the points gap between themselves and the Ingram/Ian Allsop combination.

Already this year, both drivers have a no-score to their names, Burton choosing to miss the asphalt of the RBS International Manx Rally and Dodd retiring from the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally, so a win for either of them this weekend would go a long way to bolstering their chances with just two rounds remaining afterwards.

However, a few other crews in WRC machinery will be hunting them down and although not playing a major part in the series themselves, they could have an effect on the championship outcome as most are registered for ANCRO points.

Fresh from taking victory last weekend on the Quinton Stages, former ANCRO champion Steve Perez and co driver Stephen McAuley will be looking for another win in their Ford Focus WRC whereas another ex champion who also missed the opening two rounds was Roger Duckworth, who along with Mark Broomfield, racked up a win in the Isle of Man and always goes well in Wales in his Subaru.

Welshman Julian Reynolds (Subaru) will be looking for a good run on home territory whereas Scotsman Dave Weston (Ford Focus) can't be ruled out and with the likes of Charlie Payne (Mitsubishi WRC) and Alan Cookson (Subaru WRC), there is plenty of strength in depth in the field.

The Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge and Cup is at a crucial stage with only one point separating the top four drivers in the championship standings. Daniel Barry, David Bogie, Richard Cathcart and Nik Elsmore will all be battling for supremacy and with cars strictly controlled to comply with Group N regulations, all are similar in performance and with so many drivers of equal pace registered for this year's series, 2008 has so far produced the closest competition yet. In fact, with four rounds already run and three to go, only five points separates the top six!

Veteran Harry Dodd leads the Prima Motorsports 'Old Stagers' class with Brummies Nathan Crewe and John Connor leading the Two Wheel Drive Challenge in their MG and who will be up against the usual protagonists including Rod Bennett/Henry Richardson in their S1600 Fiat Punto and Tim/Kit Leigh in their Ford Fiesta.

The event also incorporates round three of the 2008 Pirelli ANCRO Rally Challenge which sees Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy runner Kris Hall lead the standings. Whilst local driver Damian Cole (Hyundai Accent WRC) along with James Belton (Subaru WRC) will be at the cutting edge, the 'one-make' Fiestas will add spice to the competition including James Everard, Liam Regan and Elfyn Evans as the lure of an end-of-season first prize of a Fiesta ST road car will serve to concentrate a considerable number of minds during the day!

Making a welcome addition to the ANCRO ranks will also be a 37 car entry in the Yokohama Challenge with Ciro Carannante heading the BMW 325 field away and Dan Corner the first of the Peugeot 205s.

The action begins as the first car in the Swansea Bay Clubmans Rally leaves the SA1 start at 8.00am, with the first National Rally competitor away at 9.15am.  The survivors from each of the three events will start arriving back at 13.30 (Clubmans) with the first National crews scheduled back at the finish at 16.50.

Fiesta’s head to the bay

Posted: July 17, 2008 8:56 AM

Round four of the VK Fiesta SportingTrophy UK series takes place next Saturday 19th July as crews head to Wales for the second time of the season to compete on The Swansea Bay National Rally. The event based in the SA1 Waterfront region of Swansea will give competitors over forty miles of classic forestry stages that are also used on the infamous Wales Rally GB.

With longer fast and flowing stages than the previous round - The Severn Valley Rally, the crews will face a challenging, and compact route. The cars will start at 08:00 and cross the finishing line just after lunchtime, therefore maximum concentration from the word go will be required by all competing.

Nineteen registered crews will take to the start of the event, with championship leader Elfyn Evans (19) from Machynlleth leading the cars away. Evans comes into the event after an excellent win on round three, where he finished a fantastic third overall in the event. Evans will be partnered again by his usual navigator Gareth Roberts. Evans recently competed on the Mid-Wales stages finishing an impressive 10th overall, he will be looking to leave Wales with another victory, helping increase his current championship lead.

James Everard (22) from Hull, is currently lying second in the UK championship standings. Everard comes to the event hoping for a better result than on the previous round, an excursion to a ditch on the very first stage saw him being denied from his third consecutive podium. Everard will have usual navigator Sam Collis calling the notes. Everard recently competed on a local event in his native North East finishing fifth overall and will be hoping this result will stand him in good steed to take another podium result in Swansea.

Third in the UK standings is Liam Regan (20) from Belfast. Regan has had a good solid start to the season to see him lying in his best championship position to date. Regan recently competed on the Quinton stages rally in Wales to gain some more experience of the Welsh forest roads, he set some impressive times during the day but a small off put an end to his attack. Regan will be keen to get to the end of the event and use his recent Welsh experience to secure him a good points haul to move him up the championship standings.

Max Utting (22) has had a mixed start to the season, with a change of navigator and being hampered by numerous amounts of bad luck, lying fourth in the championship is a great example of how his determination and not giving up has rewarded him. Utting finished an impressive second on the previous round with new partner Huw Matthias. The successful pairing will reunite for round four and hope to celebrate another podium result come lunchtime on Saturday.

Currently fifth in the championship is Meilyr Evans (18) team-mate to championship leader Elfyn. Meilyr suffered a dramatic accident on his last FST Ireland round in Ireland. With extensive damage to the car the GEMsport team have worked hard to get him ready for action in Swansea. Meilyr has been getting ever quicker throughout the season, and with a clean run a podium position could be on the cards for the young Welshman and navigator Andrew Edwards.

Other drivers of interest to watch will be Tom Walster (21) from Nottingham, Walster finished third on the previous round after an eight month sabbatical and will be hoping to repeat and even better this result at the weekend. An 11th overall position on the recent non-championship Mid Wales Stages saw him finish just behind Elfyn Evans so Walster will be confident of his pace coming to the event start. John Lloyd from Cumbria has had a number of good results in his first year and with improving pace a top five finish could be achievable. Last years FST Ireland winner Alastair Fisher (19) from Trillick, Co. Tyrone will also take to the start of the event hungry for victory after a sliding wide on a corner and becoming beached off the road put an end to his last FST event.

The fourth round of the series sees the championship move into the second half of the season and also sees the exciting arrival of two new international crews, Majid Al Shamsi and Khalil Al Shaikh come to Swansea as members of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority Junior Rally Team. With the team wanting their drivers to experience worldwide rallying experience the Fiesta SportingTrophy UK will be a great place for them to develop their rallying careers.

Registered crews are competing for a prize fund of £17,550 over the course of the year, with the winner on each round taking home £750, decreasing to £75 for eighth position - a total of £2,295 on each round of the series.

FST championship leader Elfyn Evans said:
I am looking forward to the event, with a good result on the Mid Wales Stages I’m hoping I can use my confidence from that rally to take forward to Swansea and come away with a good result. As I’m currently leading the championship it is important for me to finish the event and retain the championship lead, it’s a good turn out for the event so it will be a challenge but an exciting one at that.

Evos get set for Swansea showdown

Posted: July 17, 2008 8:53 AM

With only one point separating the top four drivers in the championship standings: Daniel Barry, David Bogie, Richard Cathcart and Nik Elsmore, the fifth round of this year’s Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, the Swansea Bay Rally on 19th July, is destined to produce an exciting battle for supremacy.

With cars in the Evolution Challenge strictly controlled to comply with Group N regulations, all are similar in performance and with so many drivers of eaqual pace registered for this year’s series, 2008 has so far produced the closest competition yet. In fact, with four rounds already run and three to go, only five points separates the top six!

First to lead the Mitsubishi charge are David Bogie/Kevin Rae, who are the only crew to have won two rounds so far this season. They are followed by winners of round two Richard Cathcart/Martin Brady, who have regularly shown that they have the speed to be at the front, be it on asphalt or gravel roads.

After scoring three podium finishes in the first three events, Daniel Barry/Mark Bowens will be looking to put the retirement on the final stage in round four behind them and get back to their front-running ways. Starting right behind them and also retiring from the last Evo Challenge round are Neil McCance/Graham Hopewell, who’s pace so far this season means that they are definitely in the frame for at least one victory before the year is out.

Nik Elsmore/Paul Wakely are next to start and, although in the top four of the championship, their consistent performance means that they are the only crew out of the leading quartet who are yet to drop a round – a significant factor – as the end of season competitors count the best six scores from the seven events.

Upping their game as the year progresses are round three winners Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors, who will be out to record their first Evo Challenge victory on gravel and close the gap - albeit just three points - between themselves and the championship leaders.

Miles Johnstone/Ian Bevan are next to line up and, if their stage times continue to improve, they could well finish close to the podium in Swansea. Jonathan Sparks/Chris Davies are another crew out to add to their points tally next weekend, whilst Tom Naughton/Horace Saville make a welcome return after missing two rounds whilst their car was being refurbished.

Notable absentees from the fifth round of the Evo Challenge are Daniel Sigurdarson, who will be staying in his native Iceland next weekend, Jonny Greer, who will be competing in the British Rally Championship on the Isle of Man and Simon Harraway, who’s season appears to have come to a premature end.

The Swansea Bay Rally also hosts round five of the Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship and sees a total entry of 36 cars, nine of which are Evolution Challenge competitors, a figure which represents 25% of the National field.

Starting an finishing from the rapidly developing area of SA1, the event features six timed special stages comprising 64 competitive miles in forests that are visited by the WRC teams during the Wales Rally GB: Margam, Rhondda, Resolven and Walters Arena.

The 2008 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is backed by Mitsubishi Motors UK and Ralliart, with support from its associate sponsors: Pirelli tyres, Speedline Corse wheels, Sparco racewear, Performance Friction Brakes, Sunoco Race Fuels, ADR Motorsport, Walkinshaw Performance and PIAA lights, who sponsor the junior award for under 25 year old drivers.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - Round Five
Entries in start number order
7 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) J
8 Richard Cathcart (Enniskillen)/Martin Brady (Navan)
9 Daniel Barry (Enniskerry)/Mark Bowens (Cork) J
10 Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Paul Wakeley (Llanelli)
11 Neil McCance (Comber)/Graham Hopewell (Worcester)
12 Keith Cronin (Cork)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) J
20 Miles Johnston (York)/Ian Bevan (Holywell)
21 Jonathan Sparks (Glastonbury)/Chris Davies (Abergavenny)
22 Thomas Naughton (Bury)/Horace Saville (Bury)
J = Junior driver

Unseeded List of Entries available

Posted: July 11, 2008 8:55 AM

Regulations available

Posted: January 28, 2008 10:42 PM

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