Monday, 14 February 2011

Mixed fortunes for Cristofaro on Wyedean rally

Rally driver Nick Cristofaro, 17, had mixed fortunes on the Wyedean Forest Rally last weekend when damage from an accident forced him out of the event while leading his class.

Cristofaro, from Milford Haven, was contesting the event for the first time in his TEG Sport, Pirelli, Genpower UK, Nicky Grist and Millers Oils supported Ford Fiesta and he was immediately on the pace on the opening stage, Chepstow Park, setting second fastest time in the class.

The second stage was cancelled but a dominant run through the third stage saw Cristofaro and co-driver James Morgan storm into the class lead by 52 seconds.

“Stage three was the longest of the event and I knew if I could push hard then I could take the lead of the class,” said Cristofaro.

“The stage went really well, we had no problems at all and we established a good lead to take into the second half of the event.”

Cristofaro extended his lead on the fourth stage but then part way through stage five he aquaplaned off the road and into a tree. Despite the accident he still set second fastest time and maintained his class lead.

“The accident came after a left hand bend, we hit some very slushy mud and slid off the road at over 100mph. The car hit a tree on the co-driver’s side which bounced us up in the air and launched us across the road backwards.”

“When the car eventually came to a halt I was a bit shaken but we quickly got the car on the road and to the finish, amazingly we still had a lead of almost a minute.”

The crew continued their pace on stage six, increasing their advantage over the rest of the class but prior to the seventh and final stage the car was stopped by the event scrutineer and it was prevented from continuing due to the accident damage.

“It’s very disappointing that we couldn’t go on and get the class win but sadly the damage was too bad to continue. It was the biggest ever accident in my motorsport career and I suppose all drivers have to have one bad crash at some point.”

The car has now been sent away to be repaired but with only two weeks until the start of Cristofaro’s British Rally Championship campaign on the Rallye Sunseeker it will be touch and go whether the car is ready.

“It’s going to be a battle to get the car sorted but I can guarantee that if it is then both myself and the team will be back in fighting form.”

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