Sunday, 5 July 2009

Wright keeps up title challenge on Quinton Stages rally

Bentham rally driver David Wright kept up his BTRDA championship hopes on last Saturday’s Quinton Stages event when he finished third overall and first in class in his Giles Philips Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. The Llandovery based rally was the sixth in the championship and it took place on the gravel tracks around the Epynt military ranges.

Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson got their event off to a good start with fourth fastest time on the opening Halfway stage. This was followed up with two second fastest times on the Route 60 and Crychan stages which saw Wright move into second place behind the Subaru Impreza WRC of Will Nicholls at the first service halt of the rally.

“I was pleased with the start we made, I had only competed on this event once before in 2002 so I didn’t really have much knowledge of the stages,” said Wright.

“We didn’t have any problems at all, I was trying to drive neatly to avoid getting on the loose gravel at the side of the tracks and it seemed to pay off.”

After service the crews headed for the Monument stage at the northern end of Epynt. Wright kept up his pace with fourth fastest time on both this and the fifth stage although the Ford Focus WRC of Hugh Hunter passed him on the overall leaderboard, Wright dropping to third.

Wright pushed hard on the next two stages, second runs through Route 60 and Crychan, taking fastest and third fastest times but going into the last stage of the event he was still ten seconds behind Hunter and twelve ahead of fourth place man Damien Cole so he decided to back off slightly to ensure a finish.

“Our car doesn’t have the pace to keep up with the top World Rally cars on the twisty uphill sections of the stages so it’s good to finish third. I enjoyed the event, especially the Crychan and Route 60 stages.”

“I decided to drive for a finish on the last stage as we were too far behind Hugh Hunter to pass him for second place and I didn’t want to risk throwing away a good result.”

“We’ve got a bit of a gap to the next championship round now so we’re going to do a fair bit of work on the car to try and get nearer to Nicholls and Hunter. The championship allows crews to drop two scores so we need to try and go for overall wins if we’re going to take the title. Hopefully we’ll have a new engine, gearbox and a few other bits fitted in time for the next round. I’d like to thank Grove Hill Garage and Kumho Tyres for their support and GPM for once again preparing a reliable and quick car.”

The next championship round takes place in September with the Ludlow based Woodpecker Stages rally.