One-two in Yorkshire secures the British Teams' title for JRM Gwyndaf Evans claims third victory of the season Alastair Fisher second in new JRM 'National' specification Mitsubishi, wins Evolution Challenge and Pirelli Star Driver Award. It...
One-two in Yorkshire secures the British Teams' title for JRM
Gwyndaf Evans claims third victory of the season Alastair Fisher second in new JRM 'National' specification Mitsubishi, wins Evolution Challenge and Pirelli Star Driver Award.
It was a perfect end to the season for JRM, with Gwyndaf Evans and co-driver Claire Mole winning the sixth and final round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, the International Rally Yorkshire. Team-mates Alastair Fisher and Rory Kennedy finished second in the first event for the team's new 'National' specification Mitsubishi, this impressive one-two result enabling JRM to secure the British Teams' title.
Fisher and Kennedy's performance also saw them win the final round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge and was good enough for Fisher to win the coveted Pirelli Star Driver Award. This is presented to up-and-coming drivers who go on to an end of season shoot-out for the chance to drive a Pirelli supported car in 2011.
A stormy Friday evening with waves crashing over the wall of the sea-front service area welcomed teams to the rally-start in Scarborough, where 100s of spectators braved the wind and spray to see the cars head off to the one, 16-mile Langdale Forest stage before the overnight halt. Evans/Mole posted an excellent time just 1.5 seconds behind Craig Breen who was fastest in his S2000 Fiesta, with reigning British Champion Keith Cronin in his Subaru a further 14-seconds down in third.
Having been brought in for the final round of the BRC to showcase JRM's new 'National' (less modified) specification Group N Lancer Evolution, Fisher/Kennedy spent the first part of the stage building confidence with their new car. Besides one overshoot, they quickly acclimatised to the slippery conditions and ended the day in fifth place.
With blustery and intermittently wet conditions making grip levels in Saturday's seven stages on the North Yorkshire Moors even more unpredictable, it was not surprising there were to be a few close-calls and incidents. However, this didn't stop Evans/Mole consolidating their second place and, although they clipped a straw bale marking one of the event's many chicanes, Fisher/Kennedy had moved up to fourth by the end of SS2 and were now closing the gap on Cronin.
With Breen rolling his Fiesta on the next stage, Evans/Mole went into the lead, whereas Fisher was now at one with his car and recorded the fastest time through the 10-miles of SS3 in Dalby Forest. Another good run by both JRM crews through SS4 meant that they exited the stage in first and second places, Cronin mindful of having to score a top-six finish in order to claim his second BRC Drivers' title.
At the main service halt on a still windswept Scarborough sea front, both Evans and Fisher reported that their cars were running perfectly and therefore, only routine tasks had to be carried out by the JRM mechanics. The crews then embarked on the afternoon's loop of four stages and, with all of them a second run through the previous four, they knew that the conditions were likely to be even more treacherous.
As it transpired, Evans/Mole were fastest on SS5, SS7 and SS8, whilst Fisher/Kennedy recorded their second stage win of the day on SS6. This impressive series of results provided a satisfying conclusion to the season for the JRM team - especially taking into account the difficult nature of the gravel forest roads in the Yorkshire forests.
As the cars and crews that had survived the day's arduous conditions returned to Scarborough for the finish, the timesheets revealed that Evans/Mole had won by 41.5 seconds ahead of Fisher/Kennedy, with Cronin/McNulty a further 27 seconds behind in third. This outcome resulted in JRM claiming a string of successes from the day:
The securing of the British Teams' title, the third win of the season for Evans, the first ever BRC victory for Mole, second place and victory in the final round of the Evolution Challenge for Fisher/Kennedy and the nomination of the Pirelli Start Driver Award for Fisher - a richly deserved accolade after a mature and well-delivered drive. The team was also delighted that Evans' car performed faultlessly and that its new 'National' specification car proved to be competitive against the more modified 'International' specification Group N Machinery.
And, having battled against him all year, the JRM team would like to congratulate Keith Cronin for becoming British Champion Driver for the second time in succession.
"I am delighted to take my third victory of the season and to win this event for the first time. The weather made things very difficult, which makes this result even more satisfying. It's just a shame about the off in Ulster, as if it hadn't been for that, I would have been battling for the driver's title today. I really have to thank JRM for bringing me in to contest a whole season and also for building me a car that I am unable to break! It's been a fantastic effort by everyone in the team and I am therefore delighted to that we have been able to secure the team's award. It's certainly well deserved."
"This has been an excellent event and I am extremely pleased. In fact it couldn't have gone better and I must thank JRM for giving me this great opportunity. The car has been fantastic and I've enjoyed the whole experience with the team. A day like today really helps increase confidence and I aim to build on this for next season."
John Barnes - Team Manager
"I am over the moon with this result. First and second is exactly what we wanted to take away with us this weekend. It's been a challenging year and, although I'm disappointed for Gwyndaf that the Drivers' Title was just out of reach in the end, I'm delighted that we've recorded more wins that anyone else this season and were able to secure the Teams' title. It's also been a great debut for our new car and Alastair has done an excellent job for us."
James Rumsey - Team Principal
"This year was all about putting JRM on the map and showing that we build some of the best Group N cars there is. I'm therefore delighted to be able to round off the season with a result like this and win the British Teams' title. It's a credit to everyone in our operation that has been involved with the rally programme. I would like to thank Gwyndaf, Alastair and in particular Daniel Sigurdarson for his consistently strong performances in the five previous rounds that have helped us achieve our goal. I now look forward to announcing details about our 2011 campaign in the next few weeks."