Dolgellau - Hopes were dashed on Sunday, during the infamous Sweet Lamb stage of the 2004 Rally of Wales, when both 22 Motorsport drivers, Jennie Lee Hermansson and Lorna Smith, saw their magnificent performances come to an abrupt and dramatic end.
Dolgellau - Hopes were dashed on Sunday, during the infamous Sweet Lamb stage of the 2004 Rally of Wales, when both 22 Motorsport drivers, Jennie Lee Hermansson and Lorna Smith, saw their magnificent performances come to an abrupt and dramatic end. Flying through the hot and dusty conditions, the drivers were both proving their worth as top-level competitors, when, with only 8 stage miles remaining, Jennie-Lee experienced a major crash and Lorna Smith's Subaru Impreza suffered mechanical failure.
The Rally of Wales, which forms the second round of the 2004 Kwik-Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship, provided over 100 miles of classic Welsh rallying, and the stage conditions were some of the best seen in years. More than 60 competitors began Day 1, amidst glorious sunshine, and despite fierce competition in the Grp N Class, after the first service Jennie Lee was lying 3rd with Lorna right behind in 5th place. Everything continued to go well and both drivers exceeded all expectation to finish the day in 2nd and 4th in Grp N.
With the adrenaline pumping and her enthusiasm at an all time high, Jennie-Lee could see possible Grp N victory within her grasp, and went out on Day 2 determined to push to the limits. Unfortunately, the speed and exhilaration of driving flat out in fifth gear through the infamous "Colin McCrae corner", did not allow for even the smallest of errors, and, when the Subaru Impreza clipped a bank, what followed was a dramatic series of rolls until the car eventually hit a tree and came to a halt, on its side. Luckily, Jennie Lee and co-driver, Howard Davies, climbed from the car with only a few bruises, and their hopes in tatters.
Lorna Smith was flying during Sunday morning, gaining on the competition as she went and looking very strong through the Sweet Lamb stage, until she too had the disappointment of finishing prematurely, through loss of drive.
Despite the disappointing result, both Jennie Lee and Lorna showed enormous talent and ability through the event, putting in cracking stage times and even challenging for a Group N podium finish. The preparations for Round 3 of the Championship, the Scottish Rally taking place in June, are already underway and the team has every reason to be hopeful of a successful result for both drivers, reflecting the hard work and commitment of everyone involved.
Jennie-Lee Hermansson- "I am sure we could have won Grp N this weekend; the car was so good and I felt so close to winning that I had to try. I guess I tried too hard and feel I let the whole team down. It was really scary rolling the car like that. Everyone says it is like slow motion and it was. I am just thankful that Howard and I are okay."
Lorna Smith- "It was a great weekend overall. I improve with each rally and showed that I can drive with the best of them. It was unfortunate about the car, especially so close to the finish, but several teams dropped out of this rally due to attrition. I will be ready for the Scottish though, so watch out!"
Will Hunt- "Both drivers did a great job this weekend. Jennie-Lee learned a valuable lesson about driving on the limit and Lorna's confidence grew by putting in some outstanding times. The focus now will be to prepare for Scotland. We only have 4 weeks to get two cars ready, so we have our hands full, but of course the most important thing is that both Jennie Lee and Howard are safe. "
Richard Betts- "Unfortunately Jennie-Lee chose Sweet Lamb to test the laws of physics - they are still working fine, unlike her car! In Lorna's case, mechanical failure is something we all face from time to time, and this was one of those times. Its just great to be working with two such professional drivers, and morale in the team is extremely high".