Podium delight for ProSpeed in Scotland!
Monday 8 December 2003 - [York] ProSpeed Motorsport, the York based rally preparation and hire company, are celebrating today after dominating the podium on the opening round of the Peugeot 206 Winter Cup, the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally.
In an almost fairytale like result, recent ProSpeed Rally Scholarship winner Ieuan Rowlands proved all the final judges to be correct as he produced a fantastic drive to win the category by exactly a minute on his first ever outing in a front wheel drive Peugeot 206 XS. Just as impressively for the team, the final podium position was taken by team mate and racing driver Tom Boardman, who finished an excellent third overall on his first ever rally.
26 year old Rowlands was selected by a panel of judges as the worthy winner of the 2003 ProSpeed Scholarship, and his prize was a fully funded drive in the Winter series. Boardman, just 20, has been racing in the British Touring Car Championship with Peugeot, and was equally keen to make an impression with Alun Cook on the notes. Rowlands regular co-driver Kelvin Salvage joined the Ffestiniog youngster for the long journey north to South West Scotland.
In bitterly cold and frosty conditions, Rowlands started well as he adjusted the set up of the 206 XS to suit his driving style on the fast and flowing forest stages near to the base town of Castle Douglas. At first service, with two stages behind him, Rowlands was able to take stock as he found himself 2nd overall, despite driving at around 75% of his real speed. Boardman had also started impressively in his identical machine, the Lancastrian over a minute down on his Welsh team mate in a strong 5th overall.
With just three stages left on the short 45 mile event, Rowlands decided to push for the lead in the third stage, Dalbeattie. Alistair Moffatt just could not match Ieuan's pace as he took the lead of the 206 Winter Cup for the first time. Rowlands now six seconds up with two to go, as he piled the pressure on Moffatt. Boardman was continuing his impressive outing in 4th, learning about rallying on every stage as he kept a steady pace throughout the days stages.
Stage Four was to be crucial in deciding the outcome of the rally. Rowlands now felt at home in the Peugeot, and it showed. Another excellent time increased his lead - but rival Moffatt had rolled out of the rally under the intense pressure. Rowlands cruised through the final eight mile stage to win by an exceptional margin of exactly one minute from Paul Jones. Boardman also benefited from the unfortunate retirement as he claimed a highly unexpected podium finish on his first ever rally. Impressive as that result was, it was a beaming Ieuan Rowlands who took the honours with a fabulous debut performance in the ProSpeed Motorsport machine, delighting team boss Olly Marshall:
"The two drivers both performed fantastically today. We knew that Ieuan had a lot of talent, but for him to go and beat everyone was just an added bonus. His performance really was that of a professional today. He started steadily, got a good feel for the car, and attacked on arguably the most difficult stage of the rally. He then kept the pressure on Moffatt for the penultimate stage, and kept it all together to take the win. Everyone in the team is absolutely delighted for Ieuan and Kelvin - they are brilliant guys to work with.
Equally impressive was Tom Boardman. Tom drove a rally car for the first time on the Wednesday prior to the event, and he didn't put a mark on the car either at the test on the rally - which is a testament to his skill behind the wheel. We were all delighted with his progress on the day, and to have two of our cars finish first and third is really brilliant. I could not ask for more."
Both drivers were impressed with the new Kumho Tyres that the Peugeot 206 Super Cup will use for next season. Newly crowned Kumho Clubman Rally Champion Rowlands in particular finding excellent grip in the conditions from the newly designed gravel tyre.
The next outing for the Rowlands and Boardman assault on the Peugeot 206 Winter Cup will be the Red Kite Stages on January 4th. Based in Llandovery, the event uses the same classic Mid Wales forestry stages as used on the Wales Rally GB, Britain's round of the World Rally Championship.
Final Results, Galloway Hill - Peugeot 206 Winter Cup.
1 Ieuan Rowlands/Kelvin Savage 48:26
2 Paul Jones/Steve Smallbone 49:26
3 Tom Boardman/Alun Cook 50:54
4 Gareth MacHale/Clive Jenkins 52:03
5 Michael O'Brien/Simon Coates 52:41