WILKES MAKES BTRDA RETURN
Two-time BTRDA 1400 champion Julian Wilkes will make a return to the series on the Somerset Stages next month.
Wilkes will compete on his local event as part of a plan to contest multiple rallies in 2016 in his Vauxhall Nova. His last BTRDA outing was in Somerset last year.
“It’s our local event so we know it well and we’re still dialling in the car,” said Wilkes. “I hate not competing so we wanted to get back out. We had the wrong tyres and a few niggles last year so hopefully we can go a bit better.”
Wilkes – along with co-driver Will Rutherford – will also compete in the British Rally Championship when they attempt the Nicky Grist Stages in July, an event that appeals because of its mixed-surface.
“It’s gravel one day and Tarmac the next,” added Wilkes. “So that really appeals as a challenge to me and Will and the car isn’t too difficult to change over.”
The duo competed on the Bovington Stages earlier this month, but continued gearbox issues following on from a crash a few seasons ago forced them to pull out.
A return to Wales Rally GB could also be on the cards for the pair, although an entry is yet to be confirmed. Wilkes – a Network Q area manager – was sponsored by his company, which also sponsored the national element of last year’s Rally GB. A ball joint failure cost the Nova crew a shot at a class win on the event, despite struggling with tyres on the 1600cc car. ● Wilkes will have plenty to fight for on the Somerset Stages, with fellow Nova pedaller Dave Brick entering the rally. He retired from the Malcolm Wilson with a broken gearbox. In the same class, Ed Fossey will make his BTRDA debut in an ex-aaron Slights Toyota Yaris.