WILKES MAKES BTRDA RE­TURN

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Photos: Jakob Ebrey, EDP Pho­tonews, Paul Lawrence

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.

Wilkes (above left) will com­pete in Som­er­set Wilkes suf­fered tricky GB

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