Simpson snaps up 2nd on MG debut Liverpool rally ace Tony Simpson made a welcome return to the stages last weekend, as the RallySchool.co.uk backed Scouser finished a fine 2nd in class on the Malcolm Wilson Rally in Cumbria. Driving an MG ZR...
Simpson snaps up 2nd on MG debut
Liverpool rally ace Tony Simpson made a welcome return to the stages last weekend, as the RallySchool.co.uk backed Scouser finished a fine 2nd in class on the Malcolm Wilson Rally in Cumbria.
Driving an MG ZR 1400, Simpson, with co-driver Stefan Arndt alongside, was making his first appearance in the former works run MG X-Power machine. After securing a five rally deal with RallySchool.co.uk to contest the Silkolene BTRDA 1400 Rally Championship, Simpson was keen to make a good first impression after several seasons behind the wheel of a VW Polo Challenge car.
The Malcolm Wilson Rally, based in Cockermouth, uses some of the UK's most challenging forest stages. Using forest roads in the Lake District, the event offered 45 miles to test SeaCon backed Simpson and Arndt, who had not competed together for over 12 months. As part of the RallySchool.co.uk team on the event, Simpson's aim was to take a top three finish within the 'Class N1' section of the rally.
An icy opening first stage greeted the crews, and caught out many drivers. Tony suffered a heart stopping spin as he began to get used to the Off Plan Limited backed MG. Despite the time loss, Simpson was still able to set a competitive time on the stage, as he found himself in a battle for second in the class behind the rapid Niall Cowan.
As the stages headed south towards Grizedale, Simpson picked up the pace as he adjusted to life in the MG X-Power machine. By first service, Tony was looking good in a strong second position, just ahead of team mate Roland Jones, in his RallySchool.co.uk backed MG. Simpson maintained his steady and controlled drive into the afternoon loop of stages, learning the car along the way and enjoying his return to the 'hot seat' after a near 10 month lay off from the sport.
With Cowan setting a scorching pace at the front of the class, Simpson was reluctant to try and chase down the Scot in front as he cemented his second position and kept out of trouble to maintain the placing at the rally finish. Tony finished the rally delighted with second in class, and highly encouraged by the performance of the MG ZR machine:
'Its great to get back out competing again today, and the car has worked really well all day. I'm really pleased that MG are continuing to have a presence in rallying through RallySchool.co.uk, and to finish 2nd in class today was a very satisfactory result for me. I've not driven the car on gravel before, and by the end of the day, I think we had a good feel for the car and I was able to drive it the way I wanted to.
Our team mate Roland (Jones) was also in good form today and to have two RallySchool.co.uk backed MG's in the top 3 on the event is a real bonus for the whole team. Our next outing is on the North Humberside Forestry Rally, and the long straights and high speed corners will certainly make for a different challenge to the slippery muddy stages of Cumbria. With a bit more time in the car, I'm hoping we can build our speed up sufficiently to be a contender for class honours over the next couple of rallies'.
Simpson is hopeful that a series of good solid performances in the reliable MG will enable him to find further backing in order to contest additional rallies to his current five rally deal for the season.