Victory denied for JRM JRM went to this weekend's Welshpool-based Bulldog International Rally of North Wales looking to score their first British Rally Championship win, but once again the team were denied their chance of victory when bad luck...
Victory denied for JRM
JRM went to this weekend's Welshpool-based Bulldog International Rally of North Wales looking to score their first British Rally Championship win, but once again the team were denied their chance of victory when bad luck intervened in the early stages of the event, Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Chris Patterson retiring when a gearbox problem stopped them going any further than stage two.
Following a resounding victory in February, when the team took its Group N Mitsubishi Evolution X to Scandinavia for the second round of the Finnish Rally Championship, JRM wanted to showcase its cars in the UK and therefore entered the opening round of this year's Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship. Add to this result a series of highly successful tests in the UK and the highly experienced pairing of Gwyndaf Evans - who is a resident of North Wales - and co-driver Chris Patterson, all of the key elements were in place for an excellent showing this weekend.
With the team painstakingly developing and increasing the performance of the car over the past few months, it came as a big surprise to Evans that, not far into the first stage - a 16-mile run through Myherin - there was the smell of gearbox oil coming from underneath the car. As he continued through the stage he gradually felt the gear-changes become tighter, until he was only able to select 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
Even so, he and Patterson were still able to set third-fastest time and therefore decided to continue into stage two and then try to get to the first service halt of the day back in Welshpool. Even with the transmission issues not getting any better, they made it to the end of the 17-mile Sweet Lamb stage, setting the sixth fastest time and still holding a position of fourth overall.
However, at the next control the damage to the gearbox and clutch meant that the car was going no further and their rally came to a premature conclusion. A great shame, as even with the problems, it was quite clear that the JRM Evo was on the pace of the BRC front-runners.
On inspection back at the team's workshops in Chesterfield, it has been reported that the cause of the transmission issue may well be associated with the increased torque from the engine. This follows the fitting of the larger 33mm air restrictor in accordance with this year's Group N regulations, coupled to the extensive development that has been carried out by the team recently that has potentially placed additional stress on the gearbox.
In contrast, JRM team-mate and former Icelandic Rally Champion Daniel Sigurdarson with his sister Asta Sigurdardottir co-driving, had a trouble-free rally in their Evo X. Having set a constant pace on each of he event's eight stages, they ended the event in eighth place overall and finished an excellent second in the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, the highly competitive one-make series for Group N Lancers which is sponsored this year by JRM.
"I can't believe what happened today. I spent a great deal of time testing the car recently and must have covered 100s of miles without any problems at all. This outcome is so frustrating as I know how hard the team has worked over the past few months and they don't deserve this result. The JRM Evo X is the best Group N car I have ever driven, so there is no doubt that it is more than capable of winning a round of the British Championship. I just hope we get another chance to prove it."
John Barnes - JRM Operations Manager
"After the performance of the car in Finland and its reliability in the tests we carried out before this event, we were really not expecting today's turn of events. I have to admit that anything other than a win this weekend would have been a disappointment. However, we know our car can win and we are still confident that it's the most competitive Evo X out there. We're therefore looking forward to the next event and a chance to put the records straight."
-source: jrm group