Tuesday 1 July 2014

Images from the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014

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Disappointing end to tough Scottish rally for Sykes

Stourbridge’s Richard Sykes had a disappointing end to his Scottish rally last weekend when he crashed out of the event while comfortably in the lead.
The event, round three of the British Rally Championship (BRC) Challenge, commenced on Friday evening with a very popular spectator stage near Dumfries. Sykes and co-driver Emma Morrison were the quickest of the BRC Challenge crews by 1.6 seconds in their Bathams Brewery and G I Sykes-supported Citro├źn C2 R200.

Day two started with stages in Twiglees and Castle O’er. Sykes continued to set the pace, extending his lead to 5.8 seconds over Ross Hunter, although the stages were not without incident.
“The Friday stage went very well and it was great to be leading,” said Sykes. “Day two got off to a fairly dramatic start, we hit a big hidden rock in Twiglees on the inside of a corner. The car was thrown up onto two wheels and I had to steer into the undergrowth to avoid rolling it. We just managed to keep the momentum going and took it steady to the end of the stage in case the suspension or wheels had been damaged. We made it to the end and then found a massive gash in the tyre so we were lucky not to have picked up a puncture. We’d also bent a ball joint. The tyre was changed and we headed to Castle O’er where we set another fastest time.”

The ball joint was replaced in service and new tyres fitted ready for the longest section of the rally, a loop of four stages totalling 30 miles including a 14 mile test in Ae forest. After three of the four stages Sykes had built up a lead of 31 seconds but it was all to go wrong on the fourth stage of the loop.
“We pushed very hard in the three stages after service and we built up a very good lead. The suspension took a hammering and we had to stop and make some repairs as the strut body bolts had all come undone. We managed to make the repairs without incurring a penalty.”

“With the lead we had we decided to maintain the position rather than take risks but disaster struck on the next stage. The event organisers had had to make an amendment to the route and it was too late for the pacenotes to be changed. We managed to borrow some notes from crews who were doing another event and had already had a recce drive of the stage.”
“Unfortunately when we arrived at the amended section we found the notes were not right for us, the first corner was described as a medium when in fact it was very tight so I was going way too fast. We slid into a large ditch on the outside of the corner and smashed into a tree stump, ripping off the radiator and holing the sump. That was our rally over.”

“I blame myself for the accident, we should’ve been more careful having not had chance to check that the pacenotes were correct. The only positive is that our two main championship rivals have already had one retirement on earlier rounds so it is still all to play for in the title race.”
“We’ll get the car up and running again and put it back into tarmac specification for the next round in Ulster. The Scottish was very disappointing but I will put that out of my mind and push hard for another win to keep up our championship challenge.”

The Ulster rally will take place in mid-August.

Image courtesy raceandrally.co.uk