Sunday, 17 April 2011

Wright wins class despite wheel drama

Bentham’s David Wright took a class victory on last weekend’s Somerset Stages rally despite a high-speed mechanical failure on the last stage.

Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson were hopeful of a good result after a disappointing retirement on their previous event and they made a fine start, lying in fourth place following the opening batch of four forest stages.

“Our times on the early stages were pleasing,” commented Wright. “We were close to the pace of the World Rally Cars and holding a decent position on the overall leaderboard.”

The rally moved to Porlock Hill for two stages on the tarmac of the toll road which runs up the hill. Despite being held up by another competitor Wright retained fourth place in his Proflex, Drenth, Kumho Tyres and Grove Hill Garage-backed GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9.

It was back to the forests for the final four stages, the first two of these went well for Wright and with two stages to go he was still in fourth. An overshoot on the ninth stage cost around 25 seconds dropping him to fifth. The final stage was only just over a mile long but it almost destroyed Wright’s rally.

“We were doing over 100mph and a bottom arm on the suspension broke, the wheel locked up and sent the car into a huge slide. We were extremely lucky not to have a big accident. Fortunately I caught the slide and kept the car on the road but we had to limp out of the stage.”

The last stage drama meant that Wright fell to eighth place overall but he still won his class. The result moves him up to ninth in the BTRDA championship standings with the next round being held in May at the Plains rally.

Image courtesy Simon Clarke