Sykes secures a solid Scottish finish. Richard Sykes moved into fifth position within the Peugeot 206 Super Cup Championship after a double header of points scoring events on the Scottish Rally this weekend. The Trade Paints Services backed ...
Sykes secures a solid Scottish finish.
Richard Sykes moved into fifth position within the Peugeot 206 Super Cup Championship after a double header of points scoring events on the Scottish Rally this weekend.
The Trade Paints Services backed Stourbridge driver finished 6th and 10th overall on the two rallies, despite being hampered by three punctures during the event. Sykes once again partnered by experienced Chelmsford co-driver Mark Andrews.
After an eventful Pirelli Rally, Richard was determined to grab as many points as possible in the forests near the event's base in Dumfries. With the aim of scoring two top five results over the weekend, Sykes went into the first stage on Saturday morning determined to be right on the pace. Maximum attack through the stage only resulted in 9th fastest time for the surprised Sykes, who admitted that a lack of pre-event testing had probably cost him a bit of early sharpness on the stages.
With only six stages on the first day, Sykes left first service determined to bring himself further into the top ten standings, and the Midlander proved good to his word, as he increased his pace to move into the top seven, although two rear punctures in consecutive stages hampered progress slightly. With only 10 tyres allocated to each team for the weekend, Sykes had to back off on the final stage of the day in order to prevent any more punctures. A final position of sixth overall was a good return on a tough day's work in hot, dry and dusty conditions.
Day two would be equally competitive, and Sykes was just three seconds off the lead after the opening stage, with a handful of the identical 206's separated by less than one or two seconds at a time. Dust coming into the car was also proving to be a major headache for Sykes, and in particular, for co-driver Mark Andrews who was choking on the dust at times.
The combative duo pressed on, and on the 18.5 mile Glentrool stage, the rally's longest, just 5 seconds separated six drivers as the battle for final points heated up considerably with just one stage to go. Sykes' consistent approach to the second day had worked well, as he held a solid 5th position going into the final stage.
Unfortunately, disaster was around the corner. 2 miles into the stage, Sykes collected a front puncture, and opted to stop and change. Priding himself on being able to change punctures faster than anyone else, Richard was devastated when a bearing in the jack broke as he began to raise the car off the ground. As a result, instead of a normal puncture change of around 1 minute and 15 seconds, Sykes dropped over two minutes to the rest of the field as he struggled to jack the car up.
Worse still, Sykes also picked up a rear puncture as he went flat out to get to the end of the eight mile stage, catching the dust of the car in front as well. Richard and Mark therefore dropped to 10th overall by the end of the event, but Sykes remained upbeat:
"Once again we've seen how competitive this series really is. I've come out of stages after giving it my all, only to find that I'm fighting for the same second with around five to six different drivers. Its incredible. As for the Scottish, I think I paid the penalty of not doing my usual pre-event test before the event, and although I attacked really hard early on the Saturday, I just wasn't right at the sharp end. The rear punctures also made life difficult as we were limited on tyres, so we had to try and avoid any punctures on the final stage of the day.
Sunday was a good day. I was only three seconds off fastest time on the 18 mile stage so that is great for me, as it shows that I'm still up there in terms of speed and consistency. I was really mad about the jack breaking though. I've always tried to be a fast as I can when changing punctures, and that jack has been up and down about 70 times in testing and practicing. It was so infuriating that it let me down just when I needed it most, as it cost me 6th place on the Sunday leg.
Apart from that, it was an excellent weekend, I was very pleased to see Mike Faulkner getting a win finally, and of course, we all feel for our rival and good mate Chris Moore who lost his car in a fire. That was terrible for him and we all hope he's back out soon. I'm going to start looking for a new jack ahead of the Jim Clark Memorial Rally now!"
The 206 brigade take to tarmac next, as the series tackles the challenges of the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, based in Edinburgh. Sykes enjoys his rallying on both gravel and tarmac, and will be looking to improve on his points haul from the Scottish Rally in three weeks time.