Hughes makes history in rally revolution Simon Hughes and co-driver Claire Mole will be taking part in a British rally revolution when they pilot the brand new Thurlby Motors Vauxhall Astra Diesel Rally Car for the first time in competition...
Hughes makes history in rally revolution
Simon Hughes and co-driver Claire Mole will be taking part in a British rally revolution when they pilot the brand new Thurlby Motors Vauxhall Astra Diesel Rally Car for the first time in competition at the Jim Clark Rally this weekend.
Developed by British touring car specialists 888 Race Engineering, the Astra RallyD is based on the limited edition road-going version, the Astra 888 CDTI, exclusive to Thurlby Motors' dealerships. Its diesel powered, 1.9 litre turbo engine produces in excess of 200bhp and is eligible for the British Rally Championship Diesel Cup.
With his fountain of Jim Clark Rally experience, Hughes is in line for a great result especially after winning his class at the event last year in the UK Fiesta SportingTrophy series. The Welshman will be looking to top fellow BRC Diesel Cup competitors in this high class piece of machinery.
The Jim Clark Rally is an historic event and the only closed-road rally on mainland UK run in the BRC. With its quick roads and smooth tarmac surface the always unpredictable Scottish weather conditions play a major role in the overall result for many crews.
Past years have seen some spectacular crashes with many agreeing, when wet, this event can be the slipperiest of the championship. The two mile Langton stage brings massive spectator numbers, renowned for its spectacular watersplash which almost submerges cautious drivers.
Trialling the new concept of diesel-fuelled rallying, Thurlby Motors in conjunction with 888 Race Engineering have built two full-spec Astra RallyD cars as they look towards a bright future together in the sport of rallying. They are fully equipped with the latest and strongest race-rally components which hopefully equates to an immediately competitive beginning in the sport.
Simon Hughes said:
"We had about 35 kilometres testing in the car and it feels really good. Obviously, being a diesel engine, it's a lot different to drive, the torque ranges are quite different to a petrol car. Once you get used to it it's a really quick and surprising car especially on the fast sections which should suit the Jim Clark roads. 888 Engineering and Thurlby Motors have done a great in developing the Astra and it looks immaculate, plus it's running on all the best rally performance bits. The car has loads of potential and I don't see why we can't pull a few surprises at the weekend.
"I really enjoy the Jim Clark event, it's fast and smooth, but for sure the weather can take everything from you in an instant. The rally has a great atmosphere and there are heaps of big jumps which really excite the spectators who come out in big numbers. We've got lots of experience here; it's my sixth time on the event and its Claire's local rally so it's great to have her on board to add to the years of experience between us. In the past it's either been really good or really unfortunate for me but last year we had a great result so ill be looking to repeat that success this year round. "
Thurlby Motors Limited Managing Director Chris Roberts said:
"The Astra RallyD is a very special rally car indeed. It has been developed from a limited edition run of 100 diesel Astra road cars by specialist engineering company 888. We knew that the BRC was planning to run a Diesel Cup within its championship and were confident that the Astra would be very well suited for this purpose. It's a very high specification machine and no expense has been spared in its development so we are hoping that it will go well in its first competitive outing in Simon's hands.
Thurlby Motors currently have two of these cars and we want to see them out competing as we are confident they will be competitive, not only in the Diesel Cup, but also within the Group N category. We know that Simon will do a good job with our car; he's a very capable young driver and has the experience to take the Astra RallyD and really get the most out of it on the excellent Jim Clark Rally stages. It's also positive that he's match fit, coming from a podium finish in his class on the WRC Rally Sardinia at the weekend."