York youngster Olly Marshall claimed second in the 1600cc class on this weekend's Bulldog Rally, a round of the Kumho National Rally Championship. The Prospeed Motorsport run 22 year old was using the event as a tyre test ahead of the forthcoming...
York youngster Olly Marshall claimed second in the 1600cc class on this weekend's Bulldog Rally, a round of the Kumho National Rally Championship. The Prospeed Motorsport run 22 year old was using the event as a tyre test ahead of the forthcoming Wales Rally GB.
Driving his usual Peugeot 206 Super Cup car, Marshall was using Kumho forest tyres for the first time this season, in readiness for his first ever attempt at Britain's only round of the World Rally Championship early next month. Welshpool co-driver Craig Parry was partnering Marshall as usual for the Shrewsbury based event that used classic Mid Wales stages like Dyfi, Hafren and Dyfnant.
Olly settled into the event steadily, arriving at first service second in class, after a trouble free start to the day. The only slight concern for the crew was the differential on the two wheel drive machine, as Olly felt that the car did not have its usual amount of bite on slow corners and uphill sections.
As the rally worked its way from Sweet Lamb service over towards Dolgellau and the Dyfi forest complex, the problem only got worse, severely restricting the lines that Olly was able to take in some corners. With the Kumho tyres working well in the hard gravel conditions, the differential had begun to unwind slightly, giving the car less mechanical grip on the front end. As a result of the problems on the slow hairpins and tight corners, Marshall dropped a place to third in class.
Despite that frustrating problem, Olly kept up the momentum as best he could in the superb fast and flowing Dyfi stages. A mechanical problem for class leader Andy Gwynne elevated Marshall back to second in class, and the young Yorkshireman held the position through the final Dyfnant stage to take 31st overall and second in class, after a useful day's tyre testing:
"It was a shame that the diff wasn't working as well as it could do, but the Kumho Tyres worked extremely well in all conditions that we faced today. The opening batch of stages were very slippery but the tyres felt sure footed at all times. I had plenty of confidence in the car, and I felt we could have pushed a lot harder had it not been for the mechanical problem.
It was a very useful tyre test ahead of the Wales Rally GB, and the tyres coped extremely well with everything we could throw at them. There's no doubting the tyres are up to the task in hand, especially with David Mann winning the Kumho Championship on Kumho Tyres. We were delighted with our days testing in the Prospeed Motorsport car and now we look forward to the final round of the Peugeot 206 Super Cup next weekend."
Marshall and Parry head south later in the week, as they travel to Aldershot for the Tempest Stages Rally, the final round of the British Rally Championship and the Peugeot series. Marshall will be looking for a good showing on the rally, although he admitted that the priority is to bring the car back in one piece, with the Wales Rally GB less than two weeks after the event.