Davies dominates on first ST Trophy outing FIESTA ST TROPHY
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
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