Julian Reynolds returned to the scene of one of his most memorable rally successes at the weekend, as he contested the 2003 Bulldog National Rally.Â The Narberth driver convincingly won the event in 2002, and returned to defend the crown this...
Julian Reynolds returned to the scene of one of his most memorable rally
successes at the weekend, as he contested the 2003 Bulldog National
Rally. The Narberth driver convincingly won the event in 2002, and
returned to defend the crown this year - armed with the very latest
Prodrive Subaru Impreza Group N car.
After recently testing the all new 'N9' version Impreza WRX for the first
time, Reynolds took up the opportunity to contest the Shrewsbury based
round of the ANCRO National Rally Championship with the Prodrive team.
Highly impressed by his first test run in the 2003 International Group N
specification Subaru, Reynolds was looking forward to an outing in the
Pirelli and Shell Racing Oils backed car - especially as Reynolds owns an
older Group A version of the Impreza.
With Ammanford's Ieuan Thomas on the notes, Reynolds had the honour of
being first car on the road as the crews headed to the forest of Hafren
for the opening exchanges. With a host of potent World Rally Car
machinery to contend with, it was smiles all round as Julian emerged from
the opening brace of stages in an excellent third place overall. Julian
kept up the pace as the crews moved south to the Sweet Lamb gravel
complex, and arrived at first service delighted with the car and the
Another run through Sweet Lamb was next on the agenda, and it proved to
be a costly stage for Reynolds and Thomas. A spin mid way through cost
the Welsh duo around 20 seconds, dropping them down the leaderboard.
Julian responded with another excellent Top 5 stage time in the Taliesin
stage, before the rally arrived in Dolgellau for second service.
Julian's main rival in Group N had been Paul Wedgebury up until that
point, but the Midlander rolled his Subaru in Taliesin and was unable to
continue. Reynolds however was keen to demonstrate the capabilities of
the Production specification Subaru, and set another top three stage time
in Gartheiniog to keep the pressure on the sharp end of the leaderboard.
Two more competitive stage times in Dyfi and Dyfnant left Reynolds and
Thomas delighted to have finished 4th overall, just six seconds shy of a
podium finish. Their textbook performance also netted a near three
minute margin of victory in Group N, ahead of Anthony Wilmington.
Julian was delighted with another very successful outing on the Bulldog
"Firstly I have to say a massive thank you to Prodrive for the
opportunity to drive the car today. The car is just superb in every
area. So much thought and attention to detail has gone into making the
car the ultimate Group N machine. I could not fault the car in any way.
It never missed a beat from the start to the finish, and power and
handling were everything you would expect from a Prodrive designed car.
It was superb.
As for the rally, again, it was very enjoyable. The stages were in a
lovely condition, and it was great to be able to get a really good feel
for the Subaru on the classic Mid Wales stages. Aside from the spin in
Sweet Lamb, we had a very clean run without any problems, and I think the
result shows what a Group N car is capable of within the highly
competitive National Championship."
Reynolds's next outing is in something quite different again. Julian
contests next weekend's Tempest Stages Rally, the final round of the
Pirelli British Rally Championship, in Jonny Milner's Toyota Corolla
WRC. Julian has negotiated a deal to run the double BRC winning car on
the event, and will be looking to go one better than his second placed
finish on the rally from 2002.
Final Result, Bulldog Rally:
1st Mark Perrott/Graham Hopewell - Ford Escort WRC 220.127.116.11
2nd Roger Duckworth/Mark Broomfield - Subaru Impreza WRC 18.104.22.168
3rd Andy Burton/John Roberts - Peugeot Cosworth V6 1.20.06.5
4th Julian Reynolds/Ieuan Thomas - Subaru Impreza WRX 22.214.171.124
5th Steve Petch/John Richardson - Hyundai Accent WRC 126.96.36.199 -je-