Hughes tames the Tempest for first Group N success. Colwyn Bay rally driver Simon Hughes produced a superb performance to take the Production Cup honours on this weekend's Tempest Stages Rally, final round of the Kwik-Fit Pirelli British Rally...
Hughes tames the Tempest for first Group N success.
Colwyn Bay rally driver Simon Hughes produced a superb performance to take the Production Cup honours on this weekend's Tempest Stages Rally, final round of the Kwik-Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship. The 22 Motorsport run driver was never headed as he took a commanding 19 second victory in his Subaru Impreza WRX.
Saturday morning would see the crews head out for fifteen special stages on gravel. The 22 Motorsport machine was running perfectly, and Hughes was clearly revelling the challenge. Simon resumed where he had left off the night before and was immediately setting the pace again as the day began, setting a number of top 5 fastest overall times in the process.
By the halfway point in the rally, SS9, Yateley, Hughes had opened up a comfortable 14 second margin over the hard charging Ling. Unfortunately, the West Walian would not reach the end of the stage, leaving Hughes with a 30 second lead over another Welsh Production Cup driver, Dorian Rees.
Whilst maintaining his comfortable margin, Hughes was to have a small scare before the final loop of stages, as he clipped a tree in the Subaru, breaking a rear wheel in the process. Fortunately Hughes only lost 2 seconds in the incident, and there was service immediately after the stage. The Subaru had not suffered any major damage other than to the rear bodywork, and mechanically the car was fine as the 22 Motorsport crew returned Hughes back to the forests.
Hughes retained the lead and kept the Subaru going right until the final stage, as he claimed a fine 18 second victory over newly crowned Production Cup champion Dorian Rees. Simon was delighted to have achieved his first Production Cup victory in the Kwik-Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship:
"Its fantastic to have won the category for the first time today. I was encouraged with the performance on the recent Trackrod Rally, where we were fastest on one stage and consistently on the pace of the likes of Seb (Ling) and Dorian (Rees). 22 Motorsport have done a fantastic job with this car - it really works well and the car was perfect all weekend. Sadly our team-mate Jenni-Lee Hermansson couldn't quite grab the title, but it was great to win and repay the compliment to 22 who have done so much to help us recently.
The Bulldog Rally was good preparation for the Tempest this weekend, and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with the car now. We had a little in reserve at all times this weekend, so it was nice to build up a comfortable lead and then maintain it. Its been quite an up and down season for me, but this was certainly the best way possible to end the year. Hopefully it will act as a springboard to push forward with plans for 2005."
Hughes will now try to cement a deal to contest the Galloway Hills Rally in Scotland in early December. The Castle Douglas based event was Hughes's first ever outright rally victory last year, and the young Welshman is keen to defend the victory if possible.