Fow­den opens 2016 with vic­tory in swamped Pem­brey

Rali Cwm Gwen­draeth

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Ian Har­den Re­sults

Or­gan­iser: Gwen­draeth Val­ley Mo­tor Club When: Fe­bru­ary 7 Where: Pem­brey, South Wales Cham­pi­onship: WAMC Tar­ma­cadam, FMP Rally Chal­lenge Starters: 55 Stages: 5

Bob Fow­den and co-driver Paul Wakely over­came treach­er­ous con­di­tions to take a dom­i­nant win at a sod­den Pem­brey.

The Subaru Im­preza duo over­hauled early lead­ers Phil Turner/si­mon An­thony’s Mit­subishi Lancer E9 on stage two and set fastest time on ev­ery re­main­ing stage to take vic­tory by 1m29s from Oliver Hop­kins/ash­ley Trim­ble (E9), with Neil Wil­liams/peter James (Ford Es­cort Mk1) third.

Pre-event rain made the stage sur­face ex­tremely slip­pery, with patches of stand­ing wa­ter along the Beach Road sec­tion caus­ing nu­mer­ous spins. Turner, re­cov­ered from his re­cent ill­ness, set the early pace ahead of Fow­den, Hop­kins and Wil­liams. Me­chan­i­cal woes as well as the treach­er­ous con­di­tions caused early prob­lems; top seeds Robert Tout/emma Jones (Mit­subishi Lancer E10) re­tired with a blown turbo, while se­cond seeds Ge­off Kitney/ken Gib­bard (Mit­subishi E6) lost time when they spun and could not se­lect re­verse gear.

Once Fow­den got a feel for the grip lev­els he snatched the lead and broke free of his pur­suers, helped when Turner’s good run ended due to a blown turbo. This moved Hop­kins into se­cond and hav­ing re­ported that his new E9 was run­ning well, he switched to full wet tyres to fend off Wil­liams’s in­creas­ingly strong chal­lenge. The stale­mate broke on stage four, when Hop­kins stopped the clocks 16s faster than his ri­val to se­cure run­ner-up spot. Af­ter a slow start, Wynne Watkins / Sher­ryn Roberts (Im­preza) mounted a late charge to chal­lenge Wil­liams, but missed out on third by three sec­onds.

Fow­den and Wakely over­came Pem­brey con­di­tions for per­fect start

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