Rollover weekend for Marshall in Kielder.
Escrick (York) rally driver Olly Marshall had a weekend to remember on the Pirelli National Rally, as he contested rounds two and three of the Peugeot 206 Super Cup in his ProSpeed Motorsport run Peugeot 206.
With the two day event split into separate events so that points were awarded on both day one and two, Olly and Welshpool co-driver Craig Parry were looking forward to improving on their recent 6th Peugeot on the Border Counties Rally. Once again the Kielder forests were being used to provide a stern test for both crew and car.
Stages one and two were short blasts around a rough spectator special stage, with Olly and Craig 3rd overall as they made the trek out to the Harwood forest stage. As the 22 year old made his way to the stage start, it soon became apparent that visibility was going to be a major problem. Indeed, the fog was so bad that Marshall began the stage with only his sidelights on as headlights were useless. Three miles into the stage, Marshall had caught the slower car of Mike Faulkner. Sportingly Mike pulled over to let the charging Marshall past, despite Olly struggling to keep the red 206 on the road at times.
Unfortunately, that struggle was about to tip in the favour of a Kielder ditch. In a tricky section of the stage, Olly just couldn't see where the road went as Craig called the notes. A square left corner came up quicker than expected, and the 206 rolled into the ditch. Fortunately, a group of hardy spectators were on the bend and after 10 minutes of pushing, pulling and dragging, the pair were able to rejoin the stage, although all chances of a good finish had gone for day one.
Marshall's misfortune was to be further compounded on the days final stage when the badly handling car left the road after a nasty washaway in the road, which kicked the Peugeot into the air. With the car landing in the ditch at the side of the road, Marshall kept his foot on the throttle to try and pull the car through, but it was wedged on a tree stump. Over 19 minutes were lost getting the car back on the road with spectator power on hand again. Olly ended the day last in the category after a fraught evening.
With Saturday a separate rally, Marshall and his team burnt the midnight oil and more to get the battle scarred Peugeot ready for more action on Saturday. A new windscreen, new front end, new suspension and new brakes brought the Peugeot back to something like full health for six more stages in "Killer Kielder".
Running low on energy, Marshall valiantly battled with the Peugeot through the opening two stages, doing very well to keep inside the Top 10. A supply of chocolate and some "magic" sandwiches made the real difference on the day, as the now sugar boosted Marshall got into his stride once more.
The Yorkshireman had a trouble free Saturday in the Peugeot, and with three stages to go to the finish, held a respectable 8th place. After some encouragement from World Rally Championship co-driver Phil Mills, Olly got the hammer down in the last three stages to snatch a well earned 5th overall in the event:
"Well...that was some rally! The fog was terrible on Friday evening. We were going as fast as we could in the conditions, but as it was so difficult to see the road, it was very difficult to keep driving to the pace notes. Unfortunately we were caught out on one bend and rolled, but thanks to the spectators, we got going again. After that the car was all over the place, so we also had a major time loss on the final stage of the first day.
Day Two was much better. Fortunately my team at ProSpeed Motorsport worked all night without any sleep to get the car ready for another day's rallying. I can't thank them enough for their efforts. The car was much improved, and although it was my first time in a left hand drive Peugeot, we did very well to claim 5th in the 206 Super Cup. The stages were excellent and once I'd woken up myself, we speeded up after a slow start. Overall things could have gone better, but they could also have been a lot worse, so in the end, I'm satisfied to have come away from the event with some points at least."