UK: Kall Kwik Rally preview

KUMHO Clubman Rally Championship. KUMHO Clubmen answer the Kall! The 2004 Kumho Clubman Rally Championship kicks off in fine style next weekend, as the National B status championship for two wheel drive cars only hits the fast and flowing ...

KUMHO Clubman Rally Championship.

KUMHO Clubmen answer the Kall!

The 2004 Kumho Clubman Rally Championship kicks off in fine style next weekend, as the National B status championship for two wheel drive cars only hits the fast and flowing forests of North Yorkshire for Round One, The Kall Kwik Rally based in Pickering.

Leading the thirty plus registered drivers away will be 2003 front runner James Potter, from Kent. The Escort driver came so close to taking the title last year, only for eventual champion Ieuan Rowlands to pip him at the final post. With Rowlands now stepping up to the Peugeot 206 Super Cup, Potter and new co-driver Bob Stokoe are looking forward to the challenge posed this year:

"I would like to think I can keep the momentum of the past two years going (fourth overall in 2002 and second overall in 2003) but I am under no illusions. It is going to be a difficult and long season, so I will take it one event at a time and see how it goes. All I hope for is a season without punctures, having had about seven on each of the two previous seasons!"

Potter may well start as favourite, but challenges can be expected from a number of experienced Kumho campaigners. Allan McDowall, Steve Magson, Paul Bardon, George Collister, and Tim Pearcey are all capable of scoring a podium finish on the event in a mix match of rear wheel drive cars, whilst the potent Ford Escort of local man Craig Dykes cannot be discounted for success on the Yorkshire rally. Potter will certainly have to fight hard to repeat his maximum points score on the event from last year.

In the classes, the 1600cc class looks like being a strong battle amongst a number of drivers in widely differing machinery. Motorsport Direct proprietor Iain Shirlaw will be a strong favourite to do well as he gets to grips with his Proton Satria Kit Car this year. Ian McCulloch brings out his venerable Toyota Corolla GT, armed with a new set of Kumho Tyres after only using 8 in the whole of last season. A well fancied newcomer to the class will be the Vauxhall Corsa GSi Kit Car of Andy Gwynne. The Gloucester man won the S1600 title in the National's last season, and steps down a level to contest the all new Motorsport Direct Cup this season, where he starts as pre season favourite.

Open only to Vauxhall Novas and Corsas, the new Cup has attracted 10 excellent entries to the first round alone. The new bonus scheme has significantly spiced up the 1600cc and 1400cc classes - as registered Cup drivers are also required to register for the Kumho Clubman Championship.

As such, 1400cc drivers like John Brooks and the highly talented BTRDA F1400 front runner James Wozencroft are expected to feature strongly in the class and Cup battles, and likewise in the 1600cc class, Bob Marshall and David Beesley cannot be discounted for success. Welshman Iwan Evans is another driver to use a Proton Satria Kit Car in the 1600cc class as he looks to step up the pace this season in what looks like being a very strong championship class.

With crews travelling from Suffolk, Northern Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Home Counties, Northern England, and across Wales, the 2004 Kumho Clubman Rally Championship already looks wide open with several drivers capable of winning their class and challenging for overall honours. The Yorkshire forests will certainly be rocking on the 22nd of February when one of the best received championships of 2003 opens its doors for bigger and brighter 2004.

Full Championship information can be found on the official ANCRO Championship website at www.kumhorally.info.

- Kall Kwik Rally information is at www.kallkwikrally.co.uk

-kcrc-

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