Denis Biggerstaff CarSport Rally time trial

Denis Biggerstaff kicked off 2003 with a fine third position finish on his first event of the year, the CarSport Rally Time Trial. In the lead up to the event, Denis' mechanics worked non-stop to install a more powerful engine in his Metro 6R4.

Denis Biggerstaff kicked off 2003 with a fine third position finish on his first event of the year, the CarSport Rally Time Trial.

In the lead up to the event, Denis' mechanics worked non-stop to install a more powerful engine in his Metro 6R4. The 'good engine', as Denis calls it, was purchased by his sponsor, Eurocables, and is a high specification 2.5 litre high-revving unit.

With the new engine installed, Denis arrived in Belfast confident of being able to put up a good fight on the short and sharp King's Hall event. However, tough competition was expected to come from a pair of 2001 Impreza World Rally Cars belonging to Tim McNulty and Maurice Gass, Galway winner Eugene Donnelly an Impreza WRC97, David Greer's Toyota Corolla WRC as well as a host of other top drivers.

Third fastest time on the first run was a good start but, as Denis explains, it could have been better: "In practice we went out on knobbly tyres and it felt good but we changed the tyres and the ratios for the first timed run and made a few mistakes."

On the second run, a different set of tyres allowed the Eurocables and Excel backed Metro 6R4 to shave three seconds off the previous time but with other competitors also setting faster times, Denis remained in third position. However, problems in the Biggerstaff camp were soon to become apparent on the final run of the day.

Midway through the first lap of the third and final test, the Eurocables and Excel Metro 6R4 was stuck in second gear. Incredibly, the Kinallen man drove through the stage like a man possessed and managed to set his fastest time of the day and claim third position overall, just 0.5 seconds behind the winner.

Denis said: "When we arrived at the end of the second run I wasn't sure if I'd missed a gear or if we had a problem. As it turned out, half a lap into the third heat we were stuck in second gear. I suppose it was the best gear to stick in but it didn't help our times. We were lucky to make it to the finish."

Denis Biggerstaff, who is also sponsored by Millers Oils, plans to contest the Northern Ireland Rally Championship once again this year in a bid to take his third N.I. Championship title. The first round of the series, the Eurocables Stages, is due to start on February 22 at Kirkistown Race Circuit.

-www.denisbiggerstaff.com

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Series Other rally