Drivers and co-drivers from a record 15 nations, including the host country, have assembled for the Caribbean’s biggest annual international motor sport event, Sol Rally Barbados 2010 (May 29/30); the final running order, published on Wednesday (May 26), lists a record 92 starters, promising a fitting celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the inaugural running of the Barbados Rally Club’s International All-Stage Rally.
Past and present Champions from the wider Caribbean and Europe will face local aces Roger Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12) – a 10-time winner in the event’s 20-year history – and Paul Bourne, who is seeded at number one, following his victory in last Sunday’s Shell V-Power King of the Hill; Bourne (Ford Focus WRC 07) has also won the island’s premier event, twice, in 2003 & ’07.
Two more former winners are seeded in the top 10, Jamaicans Gary Gregg (Ford Focus WRC 05) and Jeff Panton (Ford Focus WRC 00) - Gregg won in 2006, Panton in 1998; leading the European charge is former UK National Champion Paul Bird (Ford Focus WRC 08), who finished second to Ulsterman Kris Meeke for the past two years.
The tussle for two-wheel-drive honours also looks set to be one of the closest in recent years: front-runners Ian Warren (Suzuki Swift), Josh Read (Toyota Starlet) and Mark Hamilton (Ford Escort) are all seeded well inside the top 20 – Warren starts as high as eight – but much of the crowd’s attention will be focused on BMW M3 number 27, shared by brothers Barry and Roger Mayers, making a rallying comeback after five years concentrating on circuit racing. Between them, they have claimed seven top 10 finishes, Roger winning (Ford Focus WRC) and Barry (Toyota Starlet) finishing fourth overall and the only two-wheel-drive car in the top 10, in 2005.
Sol Rally Barbados Chairman Barry Gale said: “The entry has been oversubscribed for some time now – we actually received 108 entries – but a combination of the worldwide recession and the usual problems of car preparation and incidents reduced the number to 92 by today, when we needed to publish the final list of starters.
“In light of this year being the 20th Anniversary of an event which was started by clubman competitors in the island, and has been increasingly supported by clubmen competitors from overseas, we decided that no-one should be excluded from this year’s event. We have therefore waived our 90-car maximum, and all 92 confirmed entries will receive competition numbers at tonight’s Briefing Meeting and be allowed to start.
“While we are delighted to have a record number on our list of starters, the decision was not about the record, but made in the spirit of the way our event has developed and making sure that we continued to support the clubmen who have supported us.”
Live coverage for Shell V-Power SuperSpecial at Simpson Motors
The Shell V-Power Super Special at Simpson Motors looks set to provide an even more fitting climax than anticipated to the Barbados Rally Club’s 20th Anniversary celebrations of the inaugural running of its International All-Stage Rally, with confirmation today that there will be live coverage of every run broadcast on the Giant Daylight Screen.
The screen will be sited in the grounds of Collins Ltd, close to the finish of the roughly one-kilometre stage, which winds through the grounds of Simpson Motors from the start near H & B Hardware. Merville Lynch Productions will capture all the action from four camera positions, accompanied by live commentary.
Debbie Simpson said: “We are extremely happy to partner with the Barbados Rally Club once again, and hope this extra effort will help the Club’s anniversary celebrations end with an event to remember, viewed via the Daylight Screen which has become an important element of motor sport in Barbados.
“I must also thank Merville Lynch Productions, Crane & Equipments and Williams Equipment for their generous technical support, and Collins Ltd for letting us park the crane to ‘fly’ the screen on its land. The Super Special at Simpson Motors promises to be very exciting and we encourage all spectators to follow the instructions of the marshals and officials to ensure their safety.”
The Shell V-Power SuperSpecial at Simpson Motors will run twice, the first run scheduled for 4.20pm; maps detailing spectator parking and viewing areas will be published in the print media on Friday, and will also be available as a pdf downloand from the spectator section of the official web site, www.rallybarbados.bb.
Sol Rally Barbados 2010 – final running order statistics
+ 92 crews entered
+ drivers or co-drivers from 15 nations, including Barbados
+ 20 four-wheel-drive cars, including eight World Rally Cars
+ 16 drivers or co-drivers from the wider Caribbean
+ 36 International drivers or co-drivers
+ 17 female co-drivers
+ cars from 18 manufacturers, Toyota (19) and Ford (18) the best represented
Sol Rally Barbados 2010 (May 29/30) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 23) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, LIME, Automotive Art, Banks and Karcher; official partners are the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Authority, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Geest Line and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Stoute’s Car Rental, Glacial Pure and Chefette.
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web site – www.rallybarbados.bb