Sunday, 23 June 2013

Points vital for Sykes on Scottish Challenge rally

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes will contest the Scottish Challenge rally next weekend and, after a disappointing finish on his last event, a good points haul is vital for his hopes of defending his BRC Challenge championship title.

Sykes was leading at the overnight halt of the last Challenge round, the Jim Clark Challenge rally, but an accident on the first stage of the second day dropped him down the leaderboard. With several stages cancelled by the organisers he was denied the opportunity to fight his way back up the results and ended up in 9th place overall in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Silverstone Tyres and Boroughbridge Marina-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max.

“The Scottish is a really important event for us,” said Sykes. “The Jim Clark result meant we dropped to third in the championship so we really need a very strong performance on the Scottish to maintain our hopes of retaining the BRC Challenge crown.”

“I pushed too hard on the Jim Clark trying to beat local driver Ross Hunter and that resulted in us going through a hedge at 70mph as can be seen on You Tube. Experience has taught me that after an accident like that it’s best to try and repair the car rather than just drive off as quickly as possible so that’s what we did. We got a stage maximum but we were still in the event and salvaged 9th and second in class.”

“I think I’m probably the only championship driver to have done the Scottish before as it has not been a BRC Challenge round previously. I did it in 2003 though so I don’t think it will give me any advantage. My co-driver Simon Taylor also has some experience of the event.”

“I’m looking forward to being back on the gravel stages again and will set off confident that we can do well. Our times this year have proved we still have the pace to win events but we’ll have to drive to preserve the car also as the Scottish stages can be rough.”

The rally is based in Dumfries and the crews will tackle around 60 miles of stages in the local forests as well as the very popular Heathhall spectator stage.