Severn Rally Clubmans Rally - Fiesta time in sun drenched Wales

Severn Rally Clubmans Rally - Fiesta time in sun drenched Wales

03.06.2006: Severn Rally Clubmans Rally - Fiesta time in sun drenched Wales

Fiesta SportingTrophy UK, round 3/8
Saturday June 3 – for immediate release

A hot and dusty Severn Valley Clubmans Rally set the scene for a thrilling round three in the Fiesta SportingTrophy UK (FST UK). Competitors battled it out over the famous fast stages used by some of the world’s finest driving talent during Wales Rally GB. Uncharacteristic soaring temperatures reached 26 degrees through the course of the day, testing both man and machine to the limit.

The day started well for series leader, and MSA British Rally Academy member Kevin Davies, who was fastest through stage one, Crychan West, and second quickest through the 5.3 mile Cefn stage. Hot on his tail in the Innovation Motorsport backed Fiesta was Chris Moore whose extensive one make series experience was proving very useful indeed. In this fiercely contested VK Vodka Kick supported series, Moore’s knowledge and understanding of this discipline proved to be the catalyst for his early rally success.

Simon Hughes was forced into early retirement after he succumbed to transmission problems right from the outset. Just eight miles into the first stage, a clunking sound manifested itself through to a loss of approximately seven minutes in the first loop. Hughes’ problem had a knock on effect for the unfortunate Mike Faulkner who had decided to change tyres after the first test. This strategy would have given him an advantage over his fellow competitors in stage two but alas, a frustrated Faulkner was left choking on the dust of the ailing Hughes.

SS3 and perhaps no surprise to see Chris Moore and Richard Edwards maintain a blistering pace to stay in control. The surprise package however, was young Adam Gould who upped his tempo and set the second fastest stage time well beyond his level of experience. A more flowing stage three meant for a happier field across the board with the Fiesta STs performing really well on these driver inspiring stages. Stage three also saw George Thomas, Owen Murphy and Tom Walster sharing the exact same stage time, thus further highlighting the ultra competitive nature of the VK Vodka Kick backed FST UK series.

Mike Faulkner’s woes continued as he went off the road on stage four resulting in his immediate retirement. The car was not badly damaged but was not able to be removed from the Halfway ditch.

With both Thomas and Murphy trading times all day it left the pair just 0.1 seconds apart going into the final stage. Also climbing up the overall rankings were Adam Gould and Simon Sparey as they became more comfortable with the car over the Halfway and Crychan Main tests. Another MSA British Rally Academy member Tom Walster was also charging ahead as the day progressed culminating in the fastest Fiesta ST time on the final stage. He was closely followed by Scotsman Fraser Jones who was lucky not to lose too much time when he picked up a puncture also on that final stage.

This short five mile test was to produce further drama for the leading drivers. Rally leader Chris Moore struggled through to the finish with broken power steering added to his existing fuel leak issues. However he maintained concentration to eventually lead the event from stage two and take the overall category win.

The fight was still on behind Moore with the hard charging George Thomas eventually clinching second position an amazing 0.3 seconds ahead of Welsh crew Kevin Davies and Emyr Jones. Last minute dramas were also aplenty for Owen Murphy as he failed to make the event finish, sliding off the road on the last stage. This promoted Tom Walster to fourth position with Adam Gould rounding off the top five.

This result now means that Kevin Davies maintains his championship lead however the gap has now decreased with George Thomas only two points behind. Chris Moore’s victory here promotes him to third overall in the series.

Moore’s win was complimented by achieving the highest number of fastest stage times on this event. He picks up the Castrol Hard Charger award and with it a supply of free oil.

The competitors in the FST UK face a new challenge with the narrow but fast tarmac roads that make up the Jim Clark Memorial Rally. This event based in and around Kelso in the Scottish Borders sees the first sealed surface event of the series which promises both excitement and close competition with these surprisingly quick cars.

Driver quotes:

#108 Chris Moore

"I lost a bit of time on stage four where the tyres were quite badly worn going in to the stage so I backed off to try and preserve them. I have a bad fuel leak here at the regroup and it took me twenty minutes to fix it the last time it happened".

#105 George Thomas

"I nearly had the biggest accident of my life on the first stage. There was a fast corner with a bump on the inside and we did well to keep it on the road. The day didn’t start off well but I was concentrating more on my driving from stage three onwards and my times improved from there on in".

#107 Kevin Davies

"I lost some time on stage four when I over cooked it on the last hairpin of the stage. We ran wide into a ditch but managed to get going again. The stages were fantastic and I’m pleased to finish third and pick up some quality points for the championship".

#154 Tom Walster

"We didn’t start the day very well after my accident on the Pirelli Rally. The emphasis for today was to get to the end of the event and we achieved exactly that. I’m happy with fourth position and getting some points on the board".

#118 Adam Gould

"We hit a pothole on the first stage and bent a steering arm, it put the tracking out and we lost some time. My driving got better as the day went on but it was still very tricky under braking as we didn’t have much grip from the front tyres. This is my first point scoring finish of the year and I’m happy with the way that the weekend has gone".

#155 Jonathan Greer

"We had a few problems during the day and I got caught in dust on stage seven. On the last stage a wheel bearing became slack and we had to take things steady to the finish. The day went well, we had a few overshoots but I’m still quite happy with my performance".

#158 Alex Evans

"We’ve had an awesome day. We’re looking at this as a whole championship as opposed to a single rally. We tried to run a clever rally and by not using a single joker we give ourselves a chance in future rallies. We hope this will pay off for us later in the season".

Championship positions

1. Kevin Davies 20
2. George Thomas 18
3. Chris Moore 15
4. Owen Murphy 10
5. Alex Evans 9
=. Dan Taylor 9
=. Colin Greer 6
7. Simon Hughes 8
8. Colin Greer 6
9. Jonathan Greer 5
=. Tom Walster 5

-  Andy Stobart -
photos Fiesta Sporting Trophy


03.06.2006 / MaP

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