Yorkshire driver Luke Pinder was the fifth hopeful to be added the list of Pirelli Star Driver nominees in with a shout of taking a fully funded drive in the 2009 British Rally Championship. International Yorkshire was the first opportunity for...
Yorkshire driver Luke Pinder was the fifth hopeful to be added the list of Pirelli Star Driver nominees in with a shout of taking a fully funded drive in the 2009 British Rally Championship.
International Yorkshire was the first opportunity for drivers in the current Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship to present their skills on gravel before the panel of Star Driver judges, since the opening rally in April.
Pitting his 1400cc Ford Puma against much more powerful cars in the Rally 2 class, Pinder and co-driver Kim Baker set some excellent stage times, despite a broken gear and handbrake linkage mounting. The youngster celebrates his 25th birthday today and is no stranger to prize drives, having won the BRC Stars Championship in 2007, with it a funded drive on Rally GB.
He will go to the final after this year's Rally GB, along with previous nominees, Juho Hanninen, Adam Gould, Andreas Sjolander and Philip Morrow, plus a driver from Rally GB and the top juniors from the Citroen C2R2 and Suzuki Swift Sport Cups.
Registrations for the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship have now closed, but there are still 46 other drivers who could be in with a chance of this six-figure prize on the final rally of the 2008 season.
Reigning Pirelli Star Driver, Armagh's Darren Gass, had a difficult Rally Yorkshire in his Mitsubishi Evo9. He and co-driver Neil Shanks had transmission problems, meaning they didn't have more than a handful of clean stages, but where they could push they set some stunning times, holding third overall.
The final loop of stages saw them drop down the leaderboard though, when a simple flat battery caused them to incur penalties.
"We're actually quite upbeat about the result," said Darren, "obviously the final position was disappointing, but the stage times were very close to the guys right at the front. It proves we've improved as the year has gone on."
The final opportunity for potential Star Drivers to shine, Wales Rally GB, will take place between 4th and 7th December and is based in Cardiff.