Sunday, 1 May 2011

Cristofaro completes toughest rally to date in Cumbria

Milford Haven rally driver Nick Cristofaro successfully completed his toughest event to date when he claimed 14th overall and fifth in class on the Pirelli International rally.

The rally started on Friday evening with two stages in Newcastleton forest and Cristofaro was aiming to immediately push hard but a very tricky road surface saw him have a few hair-raising moments in his TEG Sport, Pirelli, Genpower UK, Autoglym, Millers Oils, Nicky Grist, Cut In Edge and Elite Remapping-backed Fiesta ST.

“I’d planned to push as hard as I could on the opening two stages but the surface of the forest track was like nothing I had experienced before,” said Cristofaro. “It was so loose and very difficult to get grip, it was a real shock to the system. With huge ditches on either side of the road waiting to punish any mistake I decided to back off a bit to make sure we made it to the Saturday stages.”

A tough full day of competition took place on Saturday with ten stages in the famous Kielder forest complex. Cristofaro and co-driver Rob Fagg were lying in 23rd overall and 11th in class as they went into the opening Falstone stage and their aim was to try and progess up the leaderboard as the day went on to try and secure valuable points in both the BRC Formula 2 and Fiesta Sporting Trophy championships.

Cristofaro had a good run through the double loop of the Falstone and Bower stages and he had already moved up to 18th overall and 8th in class.

“I started to gain confidence in using the car on the marbled surface as we got further into the rally and I put some good times in the bag which got me up the leaderboard from our overnight position. It was difficult to compete against the newer Fiestas though as they are a lot faster on the straights and this event had the longest straights I have ever seen.”

The rally finished with a double loop of three stages south of Kielder Water, Shepherdshield, Pundershaw and Chirdonhead. Cristofaro’s only problem was a small off on the first Chirdonhead stage when he came over a crest too quickly and went into a ditch. The car bounced out onto the road but was facing the wrong way and in reversing to turn round the gearbox was damaged which put extra pressure on Cristofaro not to spin again.

The remaining stages were successfully completed and Cristofaro arrived at the finish at Carlisle racecourse in 14th position overall, fifth in class and third in the Fiesta ST championship.

“I learnt a lot from the event, it was definitely the toughest I’ve ever done and it’s pleasing to have got a good result at the end of it. Thanks to all my sponsors and TEG Sport for a fantastic car set up. Thanks also to Rallyschool for the loan of a recce car – I would not have been able to get a good result without it.”

The result moves Cristofaro into joint fourth in the BRC Formula 2 championship and he remains second in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy. His championship campaigns will resume in May with the Jim Clark International rally. Please visit for all the latest news.