Monday, 24 January 2011

Cristofaro makes flying start to 2011 on Red Kite rally

Milford Haven’s Nick Cristofaro, 17, got his rally driving season off to a flying start last weekend when he finished first front wheel drive car on the Red Kite Stages as well as taking tenth place overall and second in class.

The Llandovery-based event was only the second that Cristofaro has contested in his new rally car, a TEG Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta ST ran with additional support from Pirelli and Genpower as well as new sponsor Nicky Grist. Grist, who used to co-drive in the World Rally Championship with Colin McRae, now runs a successful business selling motorsport products.

The rally kicked off with a stage in Crychan forest and very difficult conditions greeted the crews with patchy ice causing several drivers to go off the road. Cristofaro started cautiously both to get back in the rhythm of driving a left hand drive car and also to get used to a new co-driver – the Isle of Man’s Rob Fagg sitting in the navigator’s seat. Despite his caution Cristofaro had one small overshoot at a corner due to the conditions.

"The opening stage was extremely slippery and I was driving with caution but we came to one corner and it was like an ice rink," said Cristofaro.

"I tried slowing down but the car slid straight on. Fortunately we didn’t hit anything and we carried on to the end of the stage."

The remaining four stages were troublefree with car and crew performing faultlessly. A delighted Cristofaro arrived at the finish in a brilliant tenth overall and second in class. He was also the first front wheel drive competitor on an event dominated by four wheel drive cars.

"It’s a great way to start the season, my aim for the event was to get plenty of miles in the car and that has been achieved, to beat all the other front wheel drive crews is a good bonus."

"I’m pleased with my progress in the new car and I’m confident that I’ll be on the pace when my British Rally Championship campaign starts next month. Thanks to my sponsors for their support, if anyone else would like back me please contact me via"

Nick’s next event will be the Rallye Sunseeker which takes place at the end of February.

Image courtesy Chris Ponsford