Archer right on Challenge target Richard Archer has put a Corsa amongst the pigeons with his stunning drive on the tarmac stages of the Jim Clark Challenge Rally, and in doing so has taken victory in the third round of the Dulux Trade MSA ...
Archer right on Challenge target
Richard Archer has put a Corsa amongst the pigeons with his stunning drive on the tarmac stages of the Jim Clark Challenge Rally, and in doing so has taken victory in the third round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship's support series, the BRC Challenge.
Archer's win on Scottish asphalt has blown the Championship wide open with current leader Julian Wilkes failing to finish the first night's stages with a clutch problem. Another Championship front runner Chris Peart failed to get through the shakedown prior to the event, his Vauxhall Astra suffering engine failure.
The leading crew's agony has led to Northampton based student Callum Black, taking the overall Championship lead with his impressive second placing in his MG ZR. Callum and his co-driver Paul Wakely took the fastest stage time on stage nine beating the seemingly invincible Archer.
Callum's consistency this season is proving to be the difference with two strong finishes on the Bulldog and Pirelli rallies. Though this result was always looking in the balance after Callum crashed on the Friday shakedown, "I braked for the corner and the car just locked up, so I came off the brakes and tried again. I seemed to have plenty of time but the car just would not stop and we went off". This mishap didn't dent the confidence of the calm youngster.
"I came here to gain tarmac experience and try to put the pressure on Wilkes" said Callum, "I'm looking forward to the Isle of Man now".
After another strong round for the Cumbrian based Irishman Jonathan Cunningham has enabled him to gain his second podium in three events with his third place finish. "I'm happy enough; I lost out on the straights with a lack of power". But with another RC3 class win, Cunningham will extend his lead in the Fiesta SportChallenge.
Just behind Cunningham for the RC3 honours were Rory Hall and Alex Laffey, "I've never been here before, stage three was fantastic and fast" remarked Laffey.
The rally proved to be a war of attrition as many of the competitors struggled with reliability. Coupled to the withdrawal of Peart and Wilkes, both Renault Clio drivers Simon Moore and Russ Thompson suffered mechanical problems.
However after overcoming his mechanical issues and rejoining the event with time penalties, Simon Moore posted second quickest time on the final Swinton stage alongside several third fastest times, "It's going well now" explained the man from East Boldon, but just too late to effect the overall result.
With changeable weather conditions throughout the event being expected, tyre choice and set up was critical, plenty of drivers complaining about not getting enough heat into the rear tyres.
Once again RC2 belonged to Brett Griffin in his 106 ahead of fellow Peugeot competitor Conor Flynn in his 205. Splitting the two in the overall standings was Richard Parry-Jones with a strong finish in his Fiesta.
But the day belonged to Richard Archer and Tom Ward who hit the mark with their Vauxhall Corsa. Archer who hasn't been out in a rally car for eight months showed no signs of the "expected" rust as he took four fastest stage times. Archer's tarmac pace is going to worry many of the Challenge field as they head to the fast asphalt of the Manx Rally on the 9th and 10th July.
With two more back to back tarmac events ahead, can Richard Archer kick start a Championship challenge and put a spanner in the works for Wilkes. Will Chris Peart be able to launch a counter attack in his tarmac special on the Manx, or can youth really show some experience with Callum's consistency.