Barrable makes it two from three Of the six Citroen Racing Trophy UK (CRT) crews on the Jim Clark International Rally, three took turns to lead the event but only one emerged victorious, Irishmen Robert Barrable and Damien Connolly eventually ...
Barrable makes it two from three
Of the six Citroen Racing Trophy UK (CRT) crews on the Jim Clark International Rally, three took turns to lead the event but only one emerged victorious, Irishmen Robert Barrable and Damien Connolly eventually streaking over a minute clear of the pack after 130 miles of asphalt action.
The third round of both CRT and Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship began in fine weather, despite forecasters predicting showers, with a blast through the centre of Duns where racing legend Jim Clark grew up.
First round winners Mark Donnelly and stand-in co-driver Emmet Sherry took first blood but the gap to Luke Pinder and Peter Scott was less than two seconds, although the Yorkshireman was already suffering with electrical problems. The car cut out before the stage start and the crew would fail to make the re-start on Saturday, becoming the one-make series' first retirement of the event
Stage two, the technical Abbey St Bathans, saw a change of lead in the form of Richard Sykes and Simon Taylor, who posted a storming time over six seconds clear of Donnelly and ten ahead of the eventual winner. It was Barrable who struck back on the third test, stopping the clocks a second sooner than Sykes, but the Midlander remained at the front, Donnelly splitting them in second.
Another run through Duns saw Donnelly fastest again, but all Sykes' hard work was undone on the re-run of Abbey, a problem with his rev-counter causing him to change gear too soon. Barrable took advantage of his misfortune and having never contested the Jim Clark Rally before, his second runs through the stages were considerably quicker. He stunned the rest of the field and with a time 23 seconds clear of Donnelly and leap-frogged to the front of the field, moving another six seconds ahead on Friday's final night time stage.
Meanwhile Irish crew Joe McGonigle and Niall Burns pulled away from Australian Molly Taylor with last year's champion co-driver Phil Clarke, who had only one goal; to get to the final service of the day so an ailing gearbox could be changed.
By the second service on Saturday, Sykes joined Pinder on the list of retirements with a seriously sick sounding engine, this elevated McGonigle and Taylor who had swapped places on every stage, until the Australian admitted she had started making silly mistakes, allowing McGonigle to pull clear after resolving a rear brake problem.
At the front Barrable was on a mission, setting fastest times on all but one stage on Saturday. Donnelly took the sensible approach, considering the championship, although he did admit to an excursion into a field, thankfully only pride damaged in the process.
So it was Robert Barrable and Damien Connolly who took the Citroen Racing Trophy UK honours in Duns, placing ninth overall and highest placed two wheel drive crew on the International Rally. Their second straight win moves them five points clear at the head of the championship table and nets them 5,000 in prize money, certainly worth the effort on their first Jim Clark International Rally.