Testing times for Marshall in Kielder. York rally driver Olly Marshall debuted his ProSpeed Motorsport run Renault Clio Super 1600 car on gravel for the first time this weekend, as the 23 year old contested the opening round of the British ...
Testing times for Marshall in Kielder.
York rally driver Olly Marshall debuted his ProSpeed Motorsport run Renault Clio Super 1600 car on gravel for the first time this weekend, as the 23 year old contested the opening round of the British Rally Championship - The Pirelli International Rally.
Junior World Rally Championship competitor Marshall was using the Gateshead based event for some much needed gravel testing ahead of two loose surface events coming up within the JWRC - The Acropolis Rally in Greece, and the Rally of Turkey. With Oswestry co-driver Craig Parry on the notes, Marshall was looking forward to seeing what the Clio could do on gravel for the first time.
Marshall was making his third appearance on the Pirelli backed event, that uses the fearsome Kielder forest complex - the largest man made plantation in Europe. Despite having a good understanding of what to expect on the stages, Marshall was to struggle in the dark of the Friday night loop of stages:
"We were trying the car without the rear anti-roll bar connected for the first time, and to be honest, I found the car virtually impossible to drive. It was all I could do to keep the car in a straight line on the very fast sections, so that was the first major thing that we learnt with the car. My team mate Simon Hughes doesn't run the roll bar, so we thought we would try it and see how it worked - unfortunately it didn't work for us!"
After the nightmare of Friday night, Marshall made a number of changes to the Clio for the Saturday morning as he sought to find a good set up on the French machine. Connecting the rear anti-roll bar up again certainly made a difference for Olly as he began to set more competitive Super 1600 times as the day went on. A slight misfire on the Clio was the only point of major concern for Olly as he finished the event satisfied with the testing he had completed:
"The car itself performed very well apart from the misfire. I have begun to get a better understanding of the car after this weekend, as it was very important to get some miles on board ahead of the next World Championship events. We'll now put some more test miles on the car over the next two weeks in order to test out a few more ideas that we have to try and achieve the optimum set up. Overall it was a good rally for me even if finishing 8th in Super 1600 was a bit disappointing. The whole ProSpeed Motorsport team performed extremely well all weekend and all three cars got to the finish. That was quite an achievement given the short notice we had to run the other two cars".