SEAT aims to extend lead on Gwyndaf's home rally Welshman Gwyndaf Evans is aiming to extend SEAT's lead in the 1998 Mobil 1 British Rally Championship, when he drives an Ibiza 'Evo 2' Kit Car on the second round or the series, the...
SEAT aims to extend lead on Gwyndaf's home rally Welshman Gwyndaf Evans is aiming to extend SEAT's lead in the 1998 Mobil 1 British Rally Championship, when he drives an Ibiza 'Evo 2' Kit Car on the second round or the series, the Vauxhall Rally af Wales (March 20/21), Evans (Dinas Mawdday) and his co-driver Howard Davies may live on the rally route, but like their visiting rivals they only get two opportunities a year - this event and the RAC Rally - to drive on the stages. With 'home advantage' merely a special desire to succeed in front of his local fans, Evans hopes to benefit from the developments made to his Ibiza Kit Car since his double victory on the opening round of the series at the Silverstone Rallysprint track on February 21. Despite some appalling weather conditions, which changed dramatically during three days of testing, Evans completed a recent test in good spirits and was happy to report that further improvements had been made to the Ibiza. "I am really looking forward to the Rally of Wales and competing on my home event with my new team SEAT", said Evans. "I did half the RAC Rally last year in an Ibiza, and I could see then that the car was potentially very good. Since last November we have done a lot of development work to fine-tune the car for the British forests. There is still a lot of work to do, but we are making improvements all the time.
"We will be competitive in Wales for sure," continues the 1996 British Rally Champion. "If all the improvements made during the recent test click into place before the start of the rally, then I'll be sitting on the start ramp quietly confident that victory is a possibility. We can win again this year for sure, because there is a lot more to come from the Ibiza.
"It was extremely encouraging to win at Silverstone on a tight and twisty stage," added Evans. "Those conditions least suit the Ibiza, it likes fast and flowing stages where the superb handling and power from the engine can be exploited. The Rally af Wales will be very different from Silverstone, and I'm really looking forward to driving the SEAT competitively on a real forest stage." Gwyndaf's team-mate is Barbara Armstrong, from Dumtries in Scotland. She recently recorded the best result by a lady driver on a round of the British Championship for seven years when she finished fourth on the opening round of the 1998 series. Furthermore, Barbara's second place on last December's Galloway Hills Rally is currently SEAT's best result on a British forest rally. Barbara has prepared well for the Rally of Wales. Swimming, canoeing, gym work-outs and 38-mile bicycle rides with SEAT's physical fitness trainer has prepared her for the demands of driving an Ibiza 'Evo 1' Kit Car, with her regular co-pilot, Lisa Addy. Having contested the British Championship for the first time last year, Armstrong is much better prepared than she was 12 months ago. "We were very much in at the deep end this time last year, plus we had a few problems to overcome," admits Barbara. "I tore a muscle in my arm just days before the 1997 Rally of Wales. I was in a lot of pain, so much so my co-driver had to change gear at times.
"In addition, the car was so new to me I didn't even know what all the warning lights were for, and we'd never done the Rally of Wales before," continues Barbara. "It was all very daunting to begin with, but as the event progressed both Lisa and I grew in confidence. This year things are so different and I'm really relaxed and looking forward to returning to Wales with no fears at all. We had a good run at Silverstone, and now we should be competitive in the forests too."