Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes is hoping for a troublefree run on next weekend’s International Rally Yorkshire after a disappointing rally season which has been the worst he has ever encountered with several potential good results spoiled by problems.
The rally is the final round of the Citroën Racing Trophy which Sykes has been contesting in his Dulux Trade Paints, G I Sykes and Boroughbridge Marina backed Citroën C2 R2 Max.
Sykes’ last event in the C2 was the Rally Isle of Man which was held on closed public roads over two days in July. Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor showed good pace on the notoriously tricky tarmac stages and they were lying in third place in the Citroën Racing Trophy part way through day two when their event came to a premature end.
On the 19th out of 21 stages it was absolutely pouring with rain and it was very difficult to maintain traction. Sykes and Australian driver Molly Taylor were only two seconds apart battling for third place and pushing as hard as they dare in the atrocious conditions. A fast section of open road where speeds of over 100mph were gained tightened quickly into an unseen corner and Sykes aquaplaned off the road and went through a large hedge at 90 mph and ended up 50 metres into a field. The crew did get the car out of the field but it took 23 minutes and they were out of time at the next time control.
"It was disheartening to have to retire again, we had been going well and I was pleased to be third in the Trophy," said Sykes.
"Day one of the event was fine, the stages were very enjoyable and we pushed hard to stay on the pace. It was great to see all the spectators out, especially in Castletown where the stage went right through the town centre."
"Day two started well also although the fog and rain in some stages made the conditions very hazardous. We maintained our position though and it looked as though we were on for a podium finish until the Ballanank stage when we went off the road and into retirement.”
After missing the championship round in Ulster Sykes has decided to return for the last round which sees the crews tackle some of the classic rally stages in the forests of North Yorkshire, starting with a tough 16 miles in Langdale forest on Friday night.
"I’m hoping that the International Rally Yorkshire will be a good event for us after all the disappointments we’ve had this year. The Friday night stage will be a big challenge, especially if we get the wind and rain that often appears in Yorkshire when there’s a rally on."
"We’ve got a packed day of stages on Saturday too including the famous Dalby stage. I’m going to be flat out from the start and giving it my all to try and get a good result."
For further information please visit www.gisykes.co.uk.