Second British Rally Championship victory for JRM * Gwyndaf Evans wins Jim Clark Rally in JRM Mitsubishi Evolution X. * Top result provides team with wins this season on snow, gravel and asphalt. Driving a JRM Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X,...
Second British Rally Championship victory for JRM
* Gwyndaf Evans wins Jim Clark Rally in JRM Mitsubishi Evolution X.
* Top result provides team with wins this season on snow, gravel and asphalt.
Driving a JRM Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Chris Patterson recorded the team's second Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship victory in a row, when they won the Jim Clark International Rally. After battling for the lead during the first half of the event, they went ahead on stage 12 and pulled out a lead of 31 seconds by the time they crossed the finish line.
Starting from the centre of Duns, with a stage that ran through the spectator-lined streets of the town, the 40th running of the Jim Clark Rally featured three stages ran twice on Friday evening followed by a further eight on Saturday, with all of the event's 134 competitive miles and 14 stages held on closed public roads in Berwickshire.
Using the car that was campaigned in 2009 by David Bogie, as his Pirelli winning LHD Evo was on its way to Sardinia to compete in the Rally d'Italia Sardegna with Swedish driver Per-Gunnar Andersson behind the wheel, Evans reported he was very happy with the car after the pre-event shake-down.
In the first stage through Duns, Evans pushed a little to hard when negotiating the roundabout on the outskirts of the town and dropped six seconds to Craig Brean in a Fiesta S2000 and four to Keith Cronin in a Subaru. Once out into the country lanes Evans was able to claw back some of the time from Brean and after SS2 was ahead of the Ford driver by one-tenth of a second.
However, Cronin was flying and had pulled out a led of 12 seconds by the time cars reached the regroup after the first loop of three stages. Evans and Brean swapped times for the next two stages, but on SS6 the JRM driver clipped a rock puncturing the two left-hand-side tyres and, with four miles still to go, dropped around half-a-minute by the time cars pulled into the service area in Kelso.
Cronin also had problems, having clouted a wall and damaged his car's suspension. So, when cars restarted on Saturday morning it was Brean that led the way from Cronin and then young Irishman Alastair Fisher in third, with Evans now fourth.
Positions were maintained for the first loop of two stages, but on the third stage of the morning it was Cronin's turn to suffer from punctures and the subsequent time loss dropped him to fourth. Then, on the next stage Brean's charge was brought to an end, when his Fiesta's engine expired in the middle of SS10.
Evans meanwhile, was pushing hard, his efforts plain to see when he arrived at the second service halt with damage to the rear of his Mitsubishi. Although there was nothing mechanical to fix, the JRM team set about the repairs, with team owner James Rumsey also lending a helping hand by straightening the bent body panels with a sledge-hammer!
With four stages to go, it was Fisher in the lead by 11 seconds ahead of Evans and Cronin now nearly a minute behind in third. But with rain starting to fall on the smooth asphalt Borders roads, the outcome of the event was far from decided.
Totally focussed on the task ahead, Evans drove faultlessly for the remainder of the rally and went ahead of Fisher on SS11. Once in front, the experienced Welshmen stayed there, Fisher unable to respond when his Mitsubishi's engine developed an intermittent misfire during the final two stages.
At the finish in Duns town centre the time sheets revealed that Evans, Patterson and JRM were winners for the second time in succession, ending the weekend with a 31.1 advantage. Fisher scored the best result of his career so far in second place, with Cronin ending the weekend in third, a further one-minute and 15 seconds behind.
JRM team-mates Daniel Sigurdarson and Asta Sigurdardottir from Iceland also recorded a first, as this was the first time they had ever completed an all-asphalt event. With their Evolution X running 100% throughout the rally, they were delighted to finish in seventh place overall.
These impressive results mean that JRM now leads the British Team's Championship, with Evans now to second in the driver's table and Sigurdarson equal fourth.
Gwyndaf Evans @"I am extremely pleased with this win. It certainly wasn't easy. I had to fight back following the punctures and drive flat-out throughout the event with no let-off right to the end. JRM provided me with another excellent car so I'm very pleased for the team that we were able to achieve our second win of the season, as it's the result we were all looking for."
John Barnes - Team Manager @"It's a great result - especially as the car ran perfectly throughout the event. All we had to do was change the brake pads - and carry out a few repairs - which we did with the help of the boss! It's good to get our first tarmac win under our belts. We now look to the IRC and the gravel of Sardinia next week and then its back to asphalt with the Donegal Rally the week after that."
James Rumsey - Team Principal @"So far this season we have shown that our cars can win on three completely different surfaces: snow, gravel and tarmac. I am delighted that having only started our motorsport campaigns last year, we are now achieving success with our cars at international level in both racing and rallying."
-source: jrm group