Sunday, 12 February 2012

Puncture robs Wright of Wyedean finish

Bentham’s David Wright had a disappointing start to his rally season last weekend when suspension damage caused by a puncture forced him to retire from the Wyedean Forest Rally, the first round of the BTRDA rally championship.

With temperatures well below freezing the rally crews faced the difficult decision of which tyres to choose for the opening stages in the Forest of Dean. Wright selected cut gravel tyres but as soon as he started stage one he knew this was the wrong choice as the gravel forest tracks resembled a skating rink. Battling to keep the Kumho Tyres, Proflex, Drenth, Grove Hill Garage and York Brewery-supported Mitsubishi Evo 9 on the road Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson had five spins in the stage and were down in 29th place overall.

Conditions were no better in the second stage although Wright was progressing well until a high speed spin between two steel gate posts.

“Stage one was a nightmare, there was no grip at all and we were very lucky not to do any damage in our numerous spins,” commented Wright. “Stage two was also very icy but we seemed to be having a better run until the spin. We only just missed the gateposts and we’d have done a lot of damage had we hit them. We ended up landing backwards in a ditch but the car was ok.”

Wright was able to swap to tyres designed for ice before the third stage and the difference was immediately seen as he caught and passed the car that started the test a minute ahead. Shortly afterwards the Evo 9 picked up a puncture which caused damage to the suspension as Wright drove out of the stage, forcing him out of the event.

“The ice tyres transformed the car on the slippery surface, we were having a really good run in Speech House but the puncture ended our hopes of a good result. It was a very disappointing way to end the rally but we’ve just got to put it behind us and look forward to the next event which will be the Malcolm Wilson rally in March. This is our local event and I really like the stages, I’ll be having a big attack to get as many points as I can.”