Milner all fired up after strong Jim Clark display. Reigning British Rally Champion Jonny Milner came within two stages of a nail biting race for maximum points on the Jim Clark Memorial Rally at the weekend. On the third from last stage of the...
Milner all fired up after strong Jim Clark display.
Reigning British Rally Champion Jonny Milner came within two stages of a nail biting race for maximum points on the Jim Clark Memorial Rally at the weekend. On the third from last stage of the two day rally, an oil fire on the rear end of the Team Dynamics and Pirelli backed Subaru forced the gallant Yorkshireman to retire from the rally after coming within a handful of seconds of the points bounty.
Changeable weather greeted the crews at the rally start in Kelso, and tyre choice would be a critical factor in deciding the outcome of the fourth round of the Kwik-Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship. Milner, co-driven as usual by Welshman Nicky Beech, was keen to do battle with the likes of Championship leader David Higgins, and renowned tarmac expert Austin McHale.
The opening stages were covered by a light rain shower, which caused a greasy covering to the surface. Jonny opted for Pirelli intermediate tyres and was pleased with the levels of grip in the Subaru Impreza WRC as he made a steady start over the first stage. Unfortunately, stage two would see a problem develop with the transmission on the car, and Milner thought that the Subaru had broken a driveshaft. The problem was more serious, as closer investigation found that the rear differential had been damaged extensively. With no spare, it looked like Milner's rally could be over on the first day.
Fortunately, Prodrive were on hand to help the Yorkshireman. After speaking to fellow Subaru Impreza WRC owner Tim McNulty, who had retired on the first stage, a rear differential was sourced from his car, and the Jonny Milner Motorsport mechanics were able to fit the new unit at the final service on Friday. With the car fully sorted, Jonny had 100 stage miles to claw back the 40 second deficit to points leader Higgins on the second day.
The Saturday leg of stages would see a close battle develop between the pair as they exchanged a handful of seconds over the super fast tarmac roads north of Coldstream. Despite the tricky conditions, Milner excelled as the stages changed from dry to damp. The Team Dynamics backed machine was reeling in the Hyundai to the point where just 12 seconds separated Higgins from Milner with 18 stage miles to go.
Unfortunately, Milner's charge was about to go up in smoke as a hydraulic pipe on the Subaru caused the Impreza to catch fire at the rear end. The fire was quickly extinguished by Milner and Beech, but the car had been damaged and with so much time lost, there was no option but to retire. Milner was bitterly disappointed but defiant:
"I have to say a massive thank you to Prodrive, Tim McNulty, and all my mechanics for keeping me in the rally. It was very good of Tim to loan me his rear differential, as without it, we would not have been able to continue at all. Prodrive also worked wonders to help us continue, and it is such a shame that all their efforts, and those of our sponsors, were ultimately to be in vain.
Not scoring any points on this rally is a major problem, as we are low on budget for the remainder of the season. I've never been a quitter though, and we will continue to take the fight to David (Higgins) for the rest of the year. We know that we have a good package around us, and I will be going as hard as ever on the Manx International at the end of this month. The battle is not over till the end, and we will not give up."
Milner, Beech and the Team Dynamics Subaru outfit are supported by Team Dynamics, Pirelli, Goldline Bearings Ltd, Sun Diagnostics UK, Ferodo, NGK Spark Plugs, SPARCO, Superflow Exhausts, Elanders Hindson, Green Filters, 76 R Fuels and Competition Car Insurance.