Parry is Higgins's Czech mate. Welshpool co-driver Craig Parry partnered former British Rally Champion Mark Higgins to a fine 12th overall and 3rd in Group N on last weekend's Barum Rally, a round of the FIA European Rally Championship held in...
Parry is Higgins's Czech mate.
Welshpool co-driver Craig Parry partnered former British Rally Champion Mark Higgins to a fine 12th overall and 3rd in Group N on last weekend's Barum Rally, a round of the FIA European Rally Championship held in the Czech Republic.
The three day event, a co-efficient 20 round of the series, marked the first time that the Mid Wales pairing had competed together. Higgins, a Manx native now living in Carno, was driving an R-E-D Motorsport prepared Subaru Impreza WRX, his first outing in a Group N car for nearly seven years.
For 24 year old Parry, it was an ideal opportunity to gain some valuable experience on one of the longest rallies in the sporting calendar. Day two of the event alone included no less than 160 kilometres of high speed tarmac rally stages around the event's base in the town of Zlín. A top quality entry from across Europe had assembled for the event, with well over twenty World Rally Cars entered for Higgins and Parry to battle with.
The first day was very much a learning one for the new pairing. As Higgins tried to find the right balance and set up with the new car, Parry concentrated on the pace notes, with the duo beginning to get used to each other after a few miles in the car. Day two would see the pair speed up considerably, with only local specialist Group N drivers ahead of them. A puncture on 27 kilometre long stage didn't help their cause, as Mark elected to drive out of the stage, losing around one minute and twenty seconds. By the end of the extremely tiring second leg, Craig and Mark had moved back up to 15th overall and 4th in Group N.
The final day would see an almost identical fate befell them. Just one corner down on a repeat of the exact same 27 km stage, another tyre deflated. This time the pair had to stop and change the offending item, dropping nearly four minutes to the leading Group N duo. After that, Higgins drove absolutely flat out in the Impreza, setting an incredible 4th fastest time on SS19, nearly two seconds faster than the eventual rally winners time for the stage!
The Higgins and Parry recovery show netted a fine 12th overall, and 3rd in the Group N class. Punctures excepted, the pair would have finished 2nd in Group N and an impressive 7th overall. For Parry however, it was a great experience:
"Obviously sitting with someone of Mark's ability is a privilege, and the rally went very well for us on the whole. R-E-D did a great job with the car, and once we'd got used to working together, Mark and I were really able to attack on the stages. The punctures were frustrating but the only Group N cars ahead of us were local drivers who live on the stages, so there wasn't much hope of being able to beat them anyway. It would certainly be an event I would want to go back to. The buzz around the base town was brilliant. I cannot recommend the event highly enough!".
Parry now heads to Northern Ireland for the Ulster Rally this weekend, where he will link up with regular driver Olly Marshall. Marshall has recovered from a broken leg and the pair will concentrate on getting in as much mileage as they can for the remainder of the season in the Peugeot 206 Super Cup.