Rally driver Richard Sykes, from Stourbridge, is hoping for a change of fortune on next weekend’s Jim Clark International Rally after crashing out while leading the previous Citröen Racing Trophy round in Cumbria.
Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor will contest the event in their Dulux Trade Paints, G I Sykes and Boroughbridge Marina backed Citröen C2 R2 Max. In a change from the previous two rounds, which were held on gravel forest tracks, the Jim Clark event will take place entirely on closed public roads in the Duns area of Berwickshire with competition taking place over 134 miles of stages.
"I was extremely pleased with our pace on the previous round, we were leading the Citröen Racing Trophy after three stages, seven seconds up on the second-placed crew," said Sykes.
"On the fourth stage, the opening of the second day, I wanted to take time of my nearest rival over the first two stages to increase the lead and win the physiological battle. All was on course as I gave it 100% and came out of the blocks at absolute maximum, but a tricky fast right hander saw me just go slightly wide and get onto the looser gravel which dragged me off the road at 90 mph into the scenery. Although I was disappointed with the retirement, I was very happy to have been leading the event overnight and this will give us a great boost going into the next event.”
"My aim for the Jim Clark is to build on the pace we showed on the last round and hopefully get a good finish with a decent haul of championship points. I haven’t driven the car yet as the repair has taken all the time available between the events, but massive thanks to M I S Insurance and Jam Motorsport for their efforts in getting the car back to pristine condition.”
"We will have to use the shakedown as our first tarmac test and the first loop of stages will be a massive learning curve but we’ll have to go hard as we dare as it is sure to be close at the top of the leader board."
“My competitors have all got many tarmac miles under their belt, especially the Irish lads who have been competing in the Irish Citröen championship, but as ever I shall give it my utmost to compete. With the Jim Clark being the first of three tarmac rounds in the championship I’m sure we will get quicker and quicker with every mile.”
The rally kicks off from Duns at 7pm on Friday night with the crews finishing the first leg in Kelso around midnight. The second day starts from Kelso racecourse with the successful crews enjoying the podium finish back in Duns.
Please visit http://www.gisykes.co.uk/ to keep up to date with all the latest news and photographs.
Image courtesy Jakob Ebrey Photography