Puncture denies JR Motorsports team of its maiden victory Driving one of the two JR Motorsports Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Xs, Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Chris Patterson set a blistering pace in the opening stages of the Trackrod International...
Puncture denies JR Motorsports team of its maiden victory
Driving one of the two JR Motorsports Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Xs, Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Chris Patterson set a blistering pace in the opening stages of the Trackrod International Rally Yorkshire, only to suffer a puncture on stage six whilst holding the lead. After changing the wheel they went on to finish in eighth place after setting six fastest stage times during the day.
Team mates David Bogie and Kevin Rae also succumbed to the perils of the sixth stage, when their promising run came to an end after a rock in the centre of a fast section of road punctured their Evo's sump.
The rally comprised four stages in the forests of the North Yorkshire Moors, run once in the morning and again in the afternoon. The day was punctuated by a short spectator stage held at lunch time around Pickering Showground, the venue also hosting the start, finish and service area. And, with dry and sunny weather greeting crews for the sixth and final round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the pace for the day's 90-competitive miles was fast right from the word go.
Following the opening stage, Gwyndaf reported that a layer of loose gravel on the surface of the forest roads was not providing as much grip as the conditions would suggest and he pulled into the opening stage in second place 1.4 seconds behind Keith Cronin, who was locked in combat for the Championship title with Mark Higgins. However, with Gwyndaf not registered for the BRC, the target for the JRM team was for overall honours and not to get in the way of the title battle.
Suffering from a cold, David started his day a little subdued and exited the first stage a surprising ninth. Then, on SS2, the car bottomed out when going through a compression at high speed, the impact making the car handle strangely for the morning's remaining two stages.
Gwyndaf however, was flying and he took the lead on SS3, returning to Pickering for the lunch-time service halt seven seconds ahead of Keith Cronin. Albeit uncomfortable with his car's directional stability, David was now up to seventh place, a good performance considering that on inspection, it was found that some of the bolts holding the front sub-frame onto the car had been sheared.
Although the JRM team were able to fix the problem, it took longer than the time allowed and David was penalised by a minute for leaving the service area six minutes late. Gwyndaf continued to set the pace and went quickest through the Showground stage, pulling out a lead of eight seconds before the second loop of four forest stages.
Then, about a mile into SS6, Gwyndaf felt that his car was not handling as is should and realised that a rear tyre had punctured. With too much of the stage left to drive, he and Chris decided to stop and change the wheel, the delay costing them four minutes and dropping them to 11th place.
David was now far happier with the way his car was handling and began to push as he looked forward to his last run in the JRM Evo X - his prize drive for winning last year's Evolution Challenge. However, it was not to be, as a rock on a fast section of the stage - right on the racing line - smashed into his car's sump guard, the impact so hard that is also split the sump, the loss of oil bringing his rally to a disappointing end.
Even though there was now no chance of winning, Gwyndaf didn't back off and went onto set another three fastest stage times during the afternoon, his pace seeing him finish the day in ninth place. Gwyndaf's lead was inherited by Keith Cronin, who went on to win the event and, in doing so, become 2009 British Rally Champion. JRM would like to congratulate Keith Cronin and his co-driver Greg Shinnors on this outstanding achievement.
Although the results did not reflect the true performance of its crews and cars, the JRM Motorsports team were delighted with the pace of its Evo Xs. It was also pleased to see its other team JRM Lico Evolution X, driven by Stuart Jones and co-driven by Andy Bull, finish in second place after setting four second-fastest stage times.
Chris Hodgson - JRM Motorsports Director
"It was great to see our cars perform so well this weekend and six fastest stage times says it all really. It's just so frustrating to end up with the results we did, which were just down to bad luck. However, there's little doubt that the work we have done on the Evo X this season has really paid dividends and it's only a matter of time before we see our cars regularly winning international events."
"I was really pleased with the car's performance all day, it was such a shame we picked up the puncture, as the way things were going I think we could have won the rally. I was also pleased to have set the fastest time on six out of the nine stages, which just shows the potential of the car."
"Following the development work that's been done recently I was really looking forward to this event. Unfortunately the day didn't quite go according to plan and it wasn't the way I wanted to end my season. However, I have to thank the JRM Team for a great opportunity this year. I've thoroughly enjoyed it.
David now goes on to drive his own car in this weekend's final round of the Scottish Rally Championship, the McRae Stages and, if he finishes sixth or higher, he and Kevin will claim the 2009 title. The team at JRM Motorsports wish them every success.
JR Motorsports' 2009 British Rally Championship campaign is supported by: Oakbank Services, exe-tc competition suspension, Lico, Opie Oils, PPG Transmissions and Carbonetics Clutches.