Winner of the Rally, Rob Swann and Sean Gill.
Josh Read and Mark Jordan finished second overall and first in the two-wheel drive.
Roger Mayers managed to make it back up to third place.
Britain’s Rob Swann wins Shakedown Stages Rally
ON his first competitive outing at the wheel of his recently-acquired Elegant Hotels/Blue Sky Luxury Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, Britain’s Rob Swann won the Sunoco Shakedown Stages Rally over the weekend. With co-driver Sean Gill, he won eight of the day’s 10 stages contested, claiming victory by just over 13 seconds from an impressive Josh Read, who won an intense see-saw two-wheel-drive battle.
Before the start at the Greenland Agricultural Station in St. Andrew, Swann said that the main aim was to get seat time in the car, having not rallied on tarmac since Sol RB15. By the end of the day, he considered it ‘Mission Accomplished’: “The first stage, we were cautious, as there was a lot of gravel. We really weren’t checking the times and were just trying to maintain a steady pace without taking risks. The car feels really good and there is a lot more to come, because right now, the car is faster than me.”
Read, the outright winner of the season’s first two speed events, looked set to do so again in the Sprite/Stihl/Gliptone/ Hankook/Weetabix/Chutney’s/Urban Kitchen/Cell Hut/Cockspur Toyota Starlet. He was six-tenths ahead on the first run from Four Hills to Orange Hill, after Swann had failed to leave the line promptly, with Andrew Mallalieu (Terra Caribbean Impreza N10) and Roger Hill (Esso/Nassco/MotorMac/Pennzoil Toyota Corolla WRC) another three or so seconds adrift.
Read’s rally soon started to unravel, however: “On SS2, the left side back shock broke, so we had to drive SS3 like that. My service crew did a MacGyver fix, but then the right side broke and we had to fix that up, too. We then overheated at the end of SS5, but we were able to rectify it by lunch.”
Despite his issues, Read was still second at lunch, 11secs behind Swann, with Hill and Mallalieu respectively 17 and 21secs adrift; the top six was completed by Roger Mayers (Chefette/Digicel/Sol/DHL/ Illusion Graphics/Hankook WR Starlet) and Dane Skeete (Sol/Flow/Automotive Art/Williams Trading Inc. Peugeot 306 Maxi), both making up ground after finishing stage one in the lower half of the top 10. Read, Mayers and Skeete were swapping times back and forth, all regularly in the top three overall.
Despite a spin on the penultimate stage, which cost him around 7secs of what had been a 20secs lead – Mayers claimed his only stage win of the day on that run – Swann had enough in hand to win. Read maintained his run of SuperModified 2 wins, while Mayers ,who was two seconds behind Skeete with two stages to go, managed to take them back all on one stage, and went on to claim third place, while Skeete and Hill completed the top five.
Mayers said, “It was a tough rally, and I gave away 40secs or so between some driver and mechanical errors. Needless to say, it was good to shake off the cobwebs.
“I think we have cured the gremlins of the past, and I’m confident heading into King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados.”
Sunoco Shakedown Stages – Sunday, April 23Official results:
1st – Rob Swann – ENG/Sean Gill (WRC Elegant Hotels/Blue Sky Luxury/ Cygnet Plant Subaru Impreza WRC S12B), 22m 58.85s
2nd – Josh Read/Mark Jordan (SM2 Sprite/Stihl/Gliptone/Hankook/ Weetabix/Chutney’s/Urban Kitchen/Cell Hut / Cockspur Toyota Starlet), + 13.17s
3rd – Roger Mayers/Sean Corbin (SM2 Chefette/Digicel/Sol/DHL/ Illusion Graphics/Hankook WR Starlet), + 35.30s
4th – Dane Skeete/Tyler Mayhew (SM2 Sol/Flow/Automotive Art/ Williams Trading Inc Peugeot 306 Maxi), + 37.14s
5th – Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (WRC Esso/Nassco/MotorMac /Pennzoil Toyota Corolla WRC), + 44.68s
6th – Daryl Clarke/Russell Brancker (M2 Roberts Manufacturing/Amir’s Chicken/Valvoline/MQI Collision Repair Honda Civic), + 1m 12.77s
7th – Neil Corbin/Matthew Staffner (M1 Nassco/Jason Jones/ Auto Solutions/Emtage Electric/BG Products & Services/Valvoline Toyota Starlet), + 1m 16.14s
8th – Andrew Mallalieu/Geoff Goddard (GpN Terra Caribbean Subaru Impreza N10), + 1m 16.79s
9th – Mark Thompson/Kurt Seabra - GUY (GpN Rock Hard Cement/Stag Bee/Automotive Art/NKM Clothing/ Bio-Beauty Day Spa/Slam 101.1FM/ Versatile Construction/Glassesco Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), + 1m 17.02s
10th – David Coelho – TRI/James Harris – ENG (GpN Zanzibar/Kaizan Sushi/VP Fuels/Total Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), + 1m 24.52s灬