Winter Cup round three preview

Peugeot TOTAL 206 Winter Cup Round Three Wyedean Forest Rally 14th February 2004 The successful and innovative Peugeot TOTAL 206 Winter Cup uses the Wyedean Forest Rally for the first time as its final round. The three round mini series was...

Peugeot TOTAL 206 Winter Cup
Round Three Wyedean Forest Rally
14th February 2004

The successful and innovative Peugeot TOTAL 206 Winter Cup uses the Wyedean Forest Rally for the first time as its final round. The three round mini series was designed to both allow prospective 206 Super Cup competitors to dip their toe in the water and to give existing competitors an opportunity to stay match ready in the winter close season.

Despite its appearance as a stop gap championship, it has been well attended with competitors braving both the forests of Scotland in December and Wales in January. With its base in Chepstow, the Wyedean Forest Rally means the series encompasses events in each of the UKs mainland countries. Whilst missing out on a rally, Ireland has been represented by several competitors making the journey across the water.

The Championship has been short and sharp but bad luck for some front runners does not detract from the competitiveness of champion in waiting, Ieuan Rowlands, who has only to drive over the ramp in Chepstow to take the crown. There is no doubt that the competition will still be fierce as the Winter warriors are joined by competitors warming up for the first round of the 206 Super Cup two weeks later.

The first of the Irish contenders holds second in the championship and Gareth MacHale whilst wanting to win the final round as much as anyone has a longer term plan to win the Super Cup. He will put the pressure on 2003 Kumho Clubmans Champion Rowlands who takes the wheel of his 1600cc 150bhp Peugeot for only the third time, his prize for winning the privately run Prospeed scholarship.

Next is Michael OBrien who will be hoping to improve on two fifth places. His consistency puts him fourth in the championship and although the ever cheerful Irishman is running last Peugeot on the rally, he will no doubt be happy at the finish whatever the outcome.

Fifth in the series after the second round is Scotsman James Robertson who was unfortunate to drop to fourth place on the last stage of the Red Kite Rally. He was a late entry on the Wyedean and will be hoping for a run from the reserve list.

Paul Jones has had a mixed series with one second place and one retirement. The non finish was due to an easily replaced clutch, so he will want to finish with a flourish. With the best two from three rounds counting, he could still take second in the championship with a win on the final round.

Eighth place is held by a young man for whom speed is no stranger. Tom Boardman is more used to the door-to-door argy-bargy of touring cars but despite this has surprised the rallying fraternity. His third place on round one was on the brink of being bettered when suspension damage caused his retirement from second place in Wales; definitely one to watch.

Rounding off the championship is Richard Phillipson who recovered from a monumental accident in Scotland and eased himself back into the forests with a creditable sixth place. His aim as always will be to improve throughout the rally without damaging the car again!

Making a welcome return to the series after a first round accident sidelined him for a couple of months is Alistair Moffat. The youngster showed his speed at the wheel of a 106 in 2003 and briefly led in Scotland so will want a clean run and return match with Rowlands.

Another with Peugeot experience is Matt Barker who takes the wheel of his prize drive 206XS. He won the 2003 205 Challenge and is keen to show his ability in more modern machinery.

Finally Stephen Petch has family honour to fulfil. Having competed in other one make series, Stephen, son of Steve, wants to make a name for himself in the 2004 Peugeot TOTAL 206 Super Cup. The Richmond based driver is the latest to buy a brand new car, using the Wyedean as a shakedown but still a threat to the front-runners.

The quality stages in the Forest of Dean will prove a good test for the final round of this popular series. With the prospect of more Peugeot entries from competitors readying themselves for 2004, the Wyedean Forest Rally will be a fitting climax to the Peugeot TOTAL 206 Winter Cup.

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Series Other rally
Drivers Paul Jones