KCRC Vauxhall Astra Stages preview

Potter aims for another big break in Wales. The second round of the Kumho Clubmans Rally Championship takes place on April 12th, when forty eight drivers and co-drivers will contest the Vauxhall Astra Stages, based in Llangollen, North ...

Potter aims for another big break in Wales.

The second round of the Kumho Clubmans Rally Championship takes place on April 12th, when forty eight drivers and co-drivers will contest the Vauxhall Astra Stages, based in Llangollen, North Wales.

After a fine last stage performance on the Kall Kwik Rally, Kent driver James Potter and co-driver Andrew Hebron will be looking to increase their championship lead in the forests of Clocaenog, Penmachno and Aberhirnant. James recently contested his home event, The Rally of Kent for some match practice, finishing 8th overall and first in class. The pair are already looking forward to their trip north:

"I have also decided to put the car on a rolling road (the engine has not been looked at for four years!) to try to get every last horsepower out of the engine. I think we will need all we can get as there were some very good competitors out on the Kall Kwik and even more due out on the Astra Stages. It will be a very closely fought event and one which Andrew and I cannot wait to take part in" said James.

Hot on their heels will be the Hull pairing of Andy Carter/Carl Briggs in their immaculate Ford Escort RS. The freshly rebuilt machine performed well in Carter's home forests on the Kall Kwik, and the pair will be going all out to redress the balance in their favour for the Astra Stages. Pickering driver Steve Magson will also be hoping for a good run in his unique Opel Kadett RWD. Magson had a torrid time on the event in 2002 and will be looking for a good result after a fine third in the points on the Kall Kwik.

Class 2 Championship leader Iain Shirlaw has been the most active of competitors since the opening round. Shirlaw headed off to the frozen lakes of Norway in order to get some expert tuition from rally instructor John Haughland. Combined with some changes to the set up of the Motorsport Direct prepared Vauxhall Nova GSi, Shirlaw is confident that the experience will be of benefit ahead of round two:

"John did some work with the suspension settings on the rear to make it less nervous. The car ran well although we changed a gearbox after Day 1. We covered over 600km at competition speed. We are still preparing the car for the Astra Stages - rebuilding the gearbox and relining the clutch. Mechanically the car will be running the same specification as on the Kall Kwik, and we're looking forward to a new challenge after the forests of Yorkshire."

Allan McDowall from Tarbolton also brings an Opel Kadett to the event after a fine showing on the Kall Kwik. McDowall lies just three points behind Class 3 leader Andy Carter. Alistair Adams and youngster Joe Price from Ludlow will all be keen to better their scores from Yorkshire.

A first stage retirement on the Kall Kwik was definitely not what the doctor ordered for Craig Dykes on his home event in Yorkshire. Dykes has since overhauled his powerful Ford Escort RS ahead of Llangollen and will no doubt be looking for a major change in fortunes with Donna Harper on the notes once again.

Welsh interest will be centred around two brothers competing in separate cars - Ieuan and John Rowlands. The Ffestiniog drivers are no strangers to the North Wales forests and will no doubt be a major thorn in the side of the championship regulars. Another Welshman looking forward to the event will be Huw Littler-Jones of Ruthin. His long trip to Yorkshire was one to forget, with a succession of driveshaft failures on the first two stages forcing him to retire. Things can only get better on home soil!

The event starts at 8am on Saturday 12th April from the Royal Pavilion in Llangollen. The crews will then tackle seven stages in the forests of Clocaenog, Penmachno and Aberhirnant, before returning to Llangollen and the Pavilion for the finish from 3pm onwards. <pre> Kumho Clubmans Championship Points After Round One: 1 James Potter 25 pts. 2 Andy Carter 22 pts. 3 Steve Magson 20 pts. 4 Allan McDowall 19 pts. 5 Alistair Adams 18 pts. 6 Joe Price 17 pts.

-kcrc-

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Series Other rally
Drivers Andy Carter