'Wozie maintains his dual title chase'. James Wozencroft - Rallying with Thompson Garages Suzuki 2005. Ludlow ace James Wozencroft remains on track for two major rally Championship titles this year after two consecutive hot and dusty weekends...
'Wozie maintains his dual title chase'.
James Wozencroft - Rallying with Thompson Garages Suzuki 2005.
Ludlow ace James Wozencroft remains on track for two major rally Championship titles this year after two consecutive hot and dusty weekends of mixed success. The Suzuki Ignis driver convincingly won last weekend's Scottish 'Stars of the Future' Rally, and finished second in the Silkolene 1400 National Rally Championship points on this weekend's Dukeries Rally.
Partnered by Manx Motorsport Youth Trust backed Robert Fagg, Wozie was keen to make his mark on the Scottish event, the third round of the British Rally Championship's new 'Stars of the Future' series. After impressive wins on the opening two rounds in Wales and Kielder, James and Rob had to battle rough stages and extremely dusty conditions in order to take their third consecutive victory of the year. The result now gives the duo a commanding lead in the Championship, with the Thompson Garages backed Suzuki Ignis 1400cc machine definitely proving to be the car to beat in the new category.
Wozencroft's attentions then turned to the forest stages native to Robin Hood country this weekend, as he and Rob contested the Dukeries Rally, the sixth round of the BTRDA backed Silkolene 1400 National Rally Championship. Widely regarded as one of the most competitive championships in the UK, the duo have already tasted the victory champagne on three of the five rounds previous to the Mansfield based event.
Things couldn't have got off to a worse start for the pair, as the Dunlop Tyres shod Ignis stuck in 4th gear halfway through the opening stage of the rally. Wozie coaxed the Suzuki out of the stage where the problem was rectified, and he then set about making up the 20 second deficit to 1400 leader George Thomas over the remaining six stages. It was nip and tuck as Wozie edged closer to the flying Thomas, with barely a second separating the duo on three consecutive stage times.
Going into the final 12 mile stage of the rally, Wozie and Rob were just 10 seconds behind the Nova man. A concerted effort from the Ignis duo was planned, but it all went horribly wrong halfway through the stage. Approaching an artificially tightened square left corner, the Ignis spun on the sandy gravel, glancing a gate post, which bent the rear beam and wheel. As if that was not bad enough, the impact slid the Suzuki across the road and into a soft bank. The car was stuck, and co-driver Rob had to get out to help the spectators push the car back onto the road. Around 50 seconds were lost in the process, and James had to settle for second in the points on the event.
Despite the disappointment, James was pleased to have taken another strong points haul. With more Silkolene 1400 outings planned for the remainder of the year, James is keen to try and make it two championships this year, but is taking nothing for granted:
'Things are going well on both fronts at the moment' said James after the Dukeries. 'Its looking very strong for us in the Stars of the Future series, but we have some tough events to come. Tarmac is not a surface I have much experience on, so the forthcoming Jim Clark Memorial Rally will be a big test for me. A good result will see us in good shape for the remaining gravel rounds. As for the Silkolene 1400 series - we'll have a really tough battle with George Thomas from now on. His pace has been stunning lately, so its going to be hard work to beat him on the remaining rounds. Having said that, the Suzuki and Dunlop tyres package is very strong and I'm very confident we can push him all the way to the end of year, and hopefully just nick the title for the Thompson Garages team.'
James and Rob will next be in action on the all tarmac Jim Clark Memorial Rally. The Scottish event will be the first all tarmac outing for the Suzuki Ignis 1400 and the team this season, and James is already looking forward to the new challenges the high grip surface will bring.