Motorsport Direct proprietor Iain Shirlaw ended his rally championship season with a solid result on the Bulldog Rally last weekend, and the Barnoldswick based Vauxhall and Proton specialist is already looking at plans for the 2004 season in his...
Motorsport Direct proprietor Iain Shirlaw ended his rally championship season with a solid result on the Bulldog Rally last weekend, and the Barnoldswick based Vauxhall and Proton specialist is already looking at plans for the 2004 season in his recently acquired Proton Satria Kit Car.
4th Kumho finisher in class on the Shrewsbury event was just reward for Iain after his recent switch to the Malaysian machine, taking 5th overall in the Kumho Championship, and winning the 1600 class in the process. Still learning the car after a long period rallying Vauxhall cars, Iain has been pleased with his switch to the homologated Kit Car as he finished off his Kumho Clubmans Rally Championship campaign with Martin Moore alongside on the notes.
Despite some gearbox problems on the final round, Shirlaw is happy with the progress being made as he adjusts to life in the ex-Martin Meadows national championship winning car. After starting the season on a high with a class win on the Kall Kwik Rally, Iain has soldiered on throughout the year, switching from a Group A + Vauxhall Nova to the Proton in the mid part of the season.
Running a professional motorsport cars and parts company, Iain made the decision to go for the Proton in order to widen his client base. With Astra's, Nova's and Corsa's still high in demand and extremely competitive, Iain decided to go for the Proton route in order to open up the market for lower end Super 1600 and Kit Car performance for the national level rally drivers.
"I have really enjoyed driving the Proton this year but we have been hampered by some niggling mechanical problems which can often be the case when you are learning about a new car. Obviously we knew every inch and every nut and bolt on the Nova, and we're rapidly getting used to the set up and workings of the Proton Satria.
I really do think there is a great future for these cars at club and national level within the UK. They have good power, great handling and suspension, and are really rewarding to drive quickly. I'm looking forward to continuing my learning curve of driving the car into next season, and I hope that other drivers will take note of Motorsport Direct's involvement with the Proton marque."
Shirlaw and Moore plan to return to the popular Kumho Clubmans Rally Championship for next year, the crew having enjoyed the camaraderie between competitors this season, and a good choice of quality events in which to compete on. The series is set to strengthen for 2004, and Iain is hoping that a number of fellow front wheel drive competitors will be joining him for a good battle on the stages next year - preferably in either a Vauxhall or a Proton!
The confirmed 2004 KUMHO Clubman Rally Championship calendar is as follows:
Kall Kwik Rally - February 22nd, Pickering.
Astra Stages - April 3rd, Llangollen.
Mutiny National Rally - June 5th, Llandrindod Wells.
Swansea Bay Rally - July 17th, Swansea.
Park Systems Rally - September 11th, Newton Stewart.
Bulldog National Rally - October 23rd, Shrewsbury.