Jones satisfied with sixth on punishing Pirelli 23 year old Welshpool rallying ace Stuart Jones was more than happy with sixth overall and third in class on last weekends Carlisle based Pirelli International Rally, his British Rally ...
Jones satisfied with sixth on punishing Pirelli
23 year old Welshpool rallying ace Stuart Jones was more than happy with sixth overall and third in class on last weekends Carlisle based Pirelli International Rally, his British Rally Championship debut of the new Lico backed MG Super 2000.
Stuart and his co-driver Andy Bull were making a welcome return to the premier division of British Rallying after a year away contesting the Production car World Rally Championship and although he had only ever tackled the Pirelli Rally once before, in 2006, Stuart was confident of a good run.
Friday night featured 4 slippery stages in the Kershope forests north of Carlisle and with the rally being identical to last year's event, one which Stuart had missed, the young rally driver knew that he had an immediate disadvantage. Although he had contested the Red Dragon Rally as a warm up two weeks ago, Stuart had not been in active competition since Wales Rally GB at the end of November last year. A cautious start to the rally saw young Jones only 13th fastest through the opening stage. But with confidence building he upped his pace and showing a remarkable level of consistency was seventh fastest on each of the next three stages to end the opening leg in seventh position.
Overnight changes to the car helped balance the handling and Stuart was able to comfortably increase his pace. After a run of top 6 times all morning more changes at the mid morning halt brought another improvement in form. Fourth fastest overall on Stage 10 was immediately followed by third fastest on the very next stage. By now the MSD run MG Super 2000, which is backed by PIAA, Rallytech, Teng Tools, Motorsport Insurance Service and Dacha Oak Products, was up to sixth position, but with three stages still to go a mature headed Stuart had his eye on a finish, rather than heroics. Maintaining a constant rhythm through the final loop of stages Stuart and Andy successfully fulfilled their main aim, a solid finish well inside the points on the opening round with the new car.
Although sixth position is a really good result for a car so early in its development the positive thing is that I feel there is so much more to come. I'm still adapting my driving style to suit the MG and at each service we are making small changes which are moving us forward.
I must give a big mention to Matt Beebe who helped us out when we broke our recce car on Friday morning. Without his help we would have really had problems!
MSD and Stuart will now begin developing the tarmac set up ahead of the first tarmac rally of the year, the Kelso based Jim Clark International Rally, which starts on May 23rd.