Sunday, 27 February 2011

Cristofaro shines on Sunseeker rally

Milford Haven rally driver Nick Cristofaro, 17, enjoyed a successful debut in the high-profile British Rally Championship last weekend when he finished 15th overall and fourth in class on the Rallye Sunseeker.

Cristofaro’s event commenced with a Friday evening ceremonial start in Poole town centre where crowds of spectators gathered to see the cars. The competitive action then took place on Saturday in the forests of Dorset and Hampshire.

After an accident on his previous event Cristofaro was keen to get to the finish of the Sunseeker in his TEG Sport, Pirelli, Millers Oils, Genpower UK, Autoglym, EKM Systems and backed Ford Fiesta ST. A cautious start was made on the opening stage, with Cristofaro and co-driver Rob Fagg taking sixth in class. The pace was soon picked up though and at the end of stage 4 the crew were lying third in class and 15th overall.

“I wanted to get back in the rhythm of things after the accident so I decided to make a cautious start,” said Cristofaro. “I think I was a little too cautious though as I found I was braking too early for the corners and losing a lot of time.”

“From stage two onwards I got my confidence back and I was pleased with the times I was putting in, it was good to be third in class ahead of all the other Fiesta crews.”

Cristofaro’s kept up his pace on the remaining stages to maintain his 15th place although he was pipped to a class podium position by Craig Breen.

“Fourth in class is a good result to kick off my BRC season, third would have been even better but I am not too downhearted to have lost out to Craig as he has much more experience than myself, including competing on world championship events.”

“I am learning something new on each event I do and for my next BRC event I am planning to make my own pacenotes instead of relying on the notes provided by the event organisers – the Sunseeker was the first event where there has been the opportunity to recce the stages in advance although I found it very strange driving through the forests at a maximum of 30mph.”

“I have been having tuition on making notes from former World Rally Champion co-driver Nicky Grist so I am confident that I’ll have no problems.”

Cristofaro’s hectic programme of events continues with next weekend’s Malcolm Wilson rally in Cumbria, the second round of the BTRDA championship.

“I’m putting the miles in, competing on the south coast one weekend and then in the far north the next, I’m enjoying every minute of it though – thanks to all my supporters for giving me the opportunity. The Malcolm Wilson rally features some well-known challenging stages so it’s going to be another tough test but I’ll be pushing as hard as I can.”

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Image courtesy Jakob Ebrey