FST UK puts a Kick into the Severn Valley.

26.05.2006: FST UK puts a Kick into the Severn Valley.

The third round of the exciting Fiesta SportingTrophy UK (FST UK) takes place this coming weekend with the Severn Valley Clubmans Rally where 23 Ford Fiesta ST rally cars in the VK Vodka Kick supported series will trade times over the Forestry Commission plantations of Mid& Wales.

It's just two weeks since the FST UK cars were out in action on the Pirelli Trophy Rally in Kielder Forest and Welshman Kevin Davies has a double advantage going into the Severn Valley Clubmans Rally, held on Saturday 3rd June. Not only does Davies head the points table of the eight round championship, he also lives locally.

"I've not done the Severn Valley Rally before, but I've done some of the stages," says Davies, who has 14 points compared to his nearest rivals' 10. "The ones I've seen can be rough, but they'll be heaven compared to the Pirelli. The sump guard was bent in all directions after that and we had to get the car all prepared in good time as I was doing an MSA British Rally Academy day before the Severn. It keeps me out of mischief."

Despite Davies' current points lead there are six other drivers who could take that spot on the rally, highlighting the close nature of the VK Vodka Kick supported series which uses identical Ford Fiesta STs transformed into GpN rally cars by kits from M&Sport.

Second in the standings, just four points behind Davies, is opening round winner Owen Murphy. The Cork&based driver had a relay switch problem in the Pirelli, meaning that he did not score points, something he is eager to rectify in the Severn Valley.

"We had trouble when I did the event last year in the Peugeot," says Murphy, "but we did get a good look at the stages as I was stopping every three miles to change the fuel pump relay! They are pretty open stages and you have to be committed. It will depend how awake I am in the morning if we're at the front of the field or if we're in the middle."

Winner on the Pirelli, and third in the standings, George Thomas is hoping that he can carry his good form to Wales. "The Pirelli was a brilliant result, I'm well chuffed," says Thomas. "The Severn Valley Rally is a lot closer to home for me. It's a lot smoother and it's a surface I'm used to so that should help. Kevin Davies lives down that way and the stages go past his front door so I'm expecting him to be strong but I'm hoping to get a good result."

The Pirelli Trophy Rally was a very short one for Tom Walster and Kirsty Riddick who set the fastest time on the event's first stage but then rolled their car on the next one. Tom is hoping for better things in the Severn Valley. "We retired on the Malcolm Wilson and rolled on the Pirelli whilst leading, we need to score points on the remaining rounds to be in with a chance of winning," he says.

The Fiesta STs will not only be competing against each other, they will be up against a field of 25 other entrants including four wheel drive rally cars. Pirelli FST UK winner George Thomas achieved a podium against similar opposition and six Fiestas were in the top ten last time out so FST UK competitors can be expected to be near the front in the Severn Valley.

- Andy Stobart-

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26.05.2006 / MaP

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