PANTON, FENNELL TOP SEEDS FOR SOL RALLY BARBADOS
Near-record entry list for 30th running of BRC’s premier event
Following their fourth consecutive victory in Flow King of the Hill at its new location of Stewart’s Hill last Sunday, Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and Michael Fennell Jnr are top seeds for the 30th running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event. The entry list of 98 cars for Sol Rally Barbados 2019 - one shy of the 2012 record of 99 starters – was published by the BRC at last evening’s (Wednesday) Briefing Meeting at Mahogany Ridge, St Thomas.
Panton and Fennell (Rubis/Sandals Barbados/KIG Ford Focus WRC06) will lead the field in to tomorrow’s (Friday) three 6.25-kilometre stages from Golden Grove to the spectacular floodlit arena of Bushy Park, the toughest challenge since the the opening night-time stages were added in 2014; at 18.75km, they account for 15 per cent of the total distance and could play a major role in the outcome of the event.
Having lost out by 12/100ths to the Jamaican crew on Sunday’s final run, England’s Rob Swann and Steve McNulty (Elegant Hotels/Blue Sky Luxury/RA Swann Ltd Subaru Impreza WRC S12B) will start at two, with the hopes of island fans riding on the potential of Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew, seeded at three in the Sol/CO Williams Sand & Lime/Automotive Art Impreza S12B. The third and final overseas crew in the top 10 – there were six last year, seven in 2015 – are Britain’s Kevin Procter and Patrick Walsh (Procters Coaches/Swift Signs & Shirts Ford Fiesta).
Roger Mayers and Sean Corbin (Chefette/Rubis/Hankook/Sign Depot Toyota WR Starlet) will start at five, the highest position for the top 2wd seed since KotH was first used as the basis for seeding 11 years ago; Mayers already held the previous record – sixth, in Sol RB13 – and will be joined in the top 10 by three more 2wd cars, Rhett Watson and Bradley Weekes (Chefette/Gliptone/Stihl/Leafy Organics/Gunk/Power King Batteries/Bajan Pure Water/Its Barbados BMW M3) in seventh, Barry Mayers and Ben Norris (Chefette/Rubis/Hankook/Sign Depot Ford Fiesta) eighth and Group B front-runners Andrew Jones and Lindsey Pilkington (Herr’s/Lucozade/AP Jones Pharmacy/Southern Surf Beach Apartments Ford Escort MkII) in 10th.
The top two in the new Modified 4 class fill numbers six and nine respectively - Roger Hill and Graham Gittens (Esso/Nassco/Pennzoil/MaxMeyer Paints/MotorMac Toyota Corolla WRC), Mark Thompson and Kurt Seabra (Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio Beauty/Automotive Art/SLAM 101.1FM Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) – while the top seed in the new FIA R5 class starts at 11, Britain’s Tom Preston and Carl Williamson in the R5 Hippo Motor Group Skoda Fabia.
In addition to the battle for overall and 2wd supremacy, there are 12 contested classes, in nearly all of which island competitors will enjoy the challenge of pitting their skills against regional or international entries, or both. With a total special stage distance of 124.67 kilometres and the return of popular vantage points, such as the Vaucluse 90 on Saturday and Kendal Duck Pond and Malvern Wall on Sunday, there is much for competitors and spectators to look forward to.
After tomorrow’s three stages at Bushy Park, there will be 10 stages at three venues on Saturday and a further 10 at four venues on Sunday, culminating in the SuperSpecial at the Vaucluse Raceway at around 3.15pm. While this will not count toward the rally result, there will be class awards and competitors must start it to be considered overall finishers. Once completed, competitors will head for the main spectator area, where fans and service crew will already have gathered for a well-deserved after-party.
Sol Rally Barbados 2019 statistics:
• 98 crews on the final running order (second highest total to 99 in Sol RB12)
• 44 overseas entries
• 78 overseas drivers and co-drivers, 19 new to the event
• 54 local entries (the highest since 61 in Sol RB13)
• 21 female competitors, one driver, 20 co-drivers
• cars from 16 manufacturers, BMW best-represented with 23, followed by Ford (22) and Toyota (13), with the rest in single figures
Sol Rally Barbados (May 31-June 2) and Flow King of the Hill (May 26) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017. Title sponsors: The Sol Group and Flow. Major partners: Automotive Art, Banks, Chefette, Sagicor and Simpson Motors. Partners: Accra Beach Hotel & Spa, Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Geest Line, MQI, R L Seale & Co Ltd, Stoute’s Car Rental and the Tourism Development Corporation
For media information only. No regulatory value