Davies dom­i­nates on first ST Tro­phy out­ing FI­ESTA ST TRO­PHY

Motor Sport News - - Goodwood Preview - Tour of Epynt re­port, p33 STAR OF THE RALLY

Cameron Davies made a re­turn to ral­ly­ing af­ter a year in cir­cuit rac­ing and the Phil Price Rally School in­struc­tor started his three-year plan to reach the World Rally Cham­pi­onship in style.

Davies led the run­ning de­spite an early scare from Tim Kir­vanRodgers – who re­port­edly went se­cond quick­est over­all on stage two – no mean feat in a Group N Fi­esta. The time was amended though and, af­ter three stages, the re­turn­ing Davies was ahead of Ge­orge Le­p­ley and Cam­brian win­ner Owain Row­lands.

Kir­van-rodgers had an is­sue in the front of the car, but couldn’t iden­tify the prob­lem. The car had Simp­son com­mented that he was en­joy­ing the chal­lenge of the slightly un­der­pow­ered S2000, and he put in a fan­tas­tic drive on only his se­cond visit to th­ese forests and his se­cond sea­son of gravel ral­ly­ing to boot.

Sisson could only man­age sixth on the stage, but that was enough to se­cure him the podium spot in an ex­cel­lent day, ahead of Benn and Stephen­son re­spec­tively.

Sixth went to Thomp­son and Mur­phy. It wasn’t with­out drama though, as he took off a wheel in the fi­nal stage. A great re­cov­ery to 11th fastest meant he held po­si­tion.

Mcclure and co-driver Alex Ki­hu­rani man­aged se­cond in class, but fell two spots, be­hind Young and Simp­son, on the last stage. How­ever, the duo were just happy to fin­ish af­ter the roll on the Cam­brian.

With the area suf­fer­ing ex­ten­sive flood­ing re­cently, the event ran with­out prob­lem and was a credit to the pro­mot­ing clubs: Kirkby Lons­dale, More­cambe and West Cum­bria clubs. Grizedale was a par­tic­u­lar high­t­light to the crews in a well-run event. ■ gone through many re­place­ment parts af­ter his Rally GB out­ing last Novem­ber.

Davies was burn­ing the mid­night oil be­fore the event af­ter clutch prob­lems fol­lowed his Red Kite out­ing – the first in the car – and was rapid af­ter a year away from the loose sur­faces.

Le­p­ley was go­ing well in the car, hav­ing only com­pleted a hand­ful of miles on the Cam­brian be­fore the gear­box ex­ploded. He and Ar­wel Jenk­ins were set­tling in nicely. How­ever, a punc­ture on the road sec­tion shook his con­fi­dence slightly and he backed off through the next stage. But the young­ster drove well all day and held on to se­cond in the class.

With Le­p­ley’s punc­ture, Davies was left to con­trol the field and de­liv­ered, with a flam­boy­ant dis­play on the stages in what looked like a rear-wheel-drive car.

Kir­van-rodgers was third hav­ing not solved the is­sue in the front, but he did well to hold on as oth­ers fell by the way­side.

Cham­pi­onship leader Row­lands re­tired from the last stage with a bro­ken ball joint, which was the end of a day to for­get.

That meant Sam Bilham took the cham­pi­onship lead with a fourth in class fin­ish. Tom Eas­son rolled on the fifth stage.


Don­agh Kelly/conor Fo­ley Keith Cronin/ Mikie Galvin Garry Jen­nings/ David Moynihan Sam Mof­fett/ Karl Atkin­son Josh Mof­fett/john Rowan Roy White/james Brown Ford Daragh O’rior­dan/tony Mcdaid Stephen Wright/james Ful­ton Kevin Kelle­her/gwyn­for Jones Joe Mc­go­nigle/ciaran Geaney

Na­tional Rally:

stepped into the breach to co-drive and read the notes – no easy task with no no­tice and no recce.

Al­though the roads were dry­ing for stages three and four (a re­peat of the first two tests), there were still damp and slip­pery patches to catch the un­wary. Kelly was again fastest and, de­spite Jen­nings switch­ing onto more suit­able tyres, Kelly in­creased his lead to 19s at mid­day ser­vice. Cronin had also switched onto slick tyres and he man­aged to edge ahead of Fisher and was 6s to the good by mid­day ser­vice. Fisher felt that he had pos­si­bly opted for too soft a com­pound tyre.

Be­hind the top four, Roy White held fifth and was try­ing step by step to in­crease his per­for­mance in the Ford Fi­esta WRC he ac­quired at the end of last sea­son. Daragh O’rior­dan in his sim­i­lar Ford Fi­esta WRC was sixth and ad­mit­ted that he felt rusty and lacked con­fi­dence, as he hadn’t con­tested a rally for six months.

In the Na­tional part of the rally, Vin­cent Mcsweeney was the early leader, but was then ham­pered by bent



Ford Fo­cus WRC 1h54m13.6s Citroen DS 3 R5 +1m26.4s Subaru Im­preza WRC +2m09.4s Ford Fi­esta R5 +3m04.9s Ford Fi­esta R5 +3m08.5s Ford Fi­esta WRC +3m23.7s Ford Fi­esta WRC +4m10.9s Ford Fi­esta R5 +5m06.9s Subaru Im­preza WRC +5m21.5s Skoda Fabia S2000 +6m35.6s

For­mer 1400 cham­pion Mat Smith re­turned to top 1400S run­ners

Davies marked his re­turn to gravel ral­ly­ing with vic­tory in the ST Tro­phy, head­ing Ge­orge Le­p­ley home

MARCH 16 2016

Podium fin­ish­ers in West Cork

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