Sunday 27 April 2014

Sykes aiming to get rally season off to a winning start

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes will finally start his rally season next weekend when he contests the Pirelli Carlisle RB Foundation rally which, after Rally North Wales was cancelled, is the opening round of the British Rally Championship (BRC). Sykes will compete in the BRC Challenge category and, having won the championship in 2012 and finished second in 2013, he’s aiming to get his title campaign off to a flying start on the Carlisle-based event.

He will again use his Citroën C2 which will be supported by Bathams Brewery and G.I.Sykes Ltd. The car has undergone a major rebuild over the winter with extensive work being undertaken to develop the engine.
“M-Sport have developed the Fiesta R200 rally car making it into a 200 bhp racer, so we decided to do the same thing with my C2,” said Sykes. “We have built a completely different engine for the car, changing the cams, pistons, rods, induction system, flywheel and ECU. We’re hoping for 200 bhp but we may have to go through a little bit of development first which isn’t always nice but, fingers crossed, we’ll have a good run on the Pirelli.”

Emma Morrison will be in the co-driver’s seat of the Citroën. Morrison stood in for Sykes’ usual co-driver Simon Taylor at the end of last season following an injury sustained in a crash on the Ulster Challenge rally. With Taylor taking a sabbatical to get married, Morrison will continue her role this year.
“I have been racing with or against Emma for the last five seasons and she did a great job in the car last year. She was our first choice to take over from Simon. She is very experienced, excellent in and out of the car and, combined with her superior organising skills, make her an ideal co-driver. We are looking forward to the year ahead.”

“We are staying true to the BRC and again competing in the BRC Challenge class of the championship which suits us really well. Having won the championship in 2012 and finished runner up last year we are looking for another win this year.”
“The cancelation of Rally North Wales was a real blow and it delayed our championship start, we are gagging to go racing now and can’t wait to start.”

The rally starts on Saturday morning from Carlisle with the Challenge crews battling over six stages totalling 55 miles in and around Kielder forest.

Action shot courtesy