Bowen ‘lucky’ with prom vic­tory

Prom­e­nade Stages Rally

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Phil James

Or­gan­iser: Wal­lasey Mo­tor Club When: Septem­ber 2/3 Where: New Brighton, The Wir­ral Cham­pi­onships: ANWCC; ANCC; SD34; BMW Cup Stages: 12 Starters: 90

Last year’s Prom­e­nade Stages win­ners Si­mon Bowen and Richard Robin­son brought their Sub­aru Im­preza WRC to vic­tory for a sec­ond year in a row fol­low­ing an epic bat­tle with the Skoda Fabia R5 of early lead­ers Neil Simp­son and Paula Swin­scoe.

The Skoda crew set the early pace, re­tain­ing their overnight lead right through to Satur­day’s lunch break. But, by that points, the Im­preza pair­ing had matched their time.

Bowen then snatched a three-sec­ond ad­van­tage on SS9 be­fore iden­ti­cal times on the fol­low­ing test left the prospect of a fight to the wire over the last two tests.

Simp­son took one sec­ond from his ri­val through SS11 but he com­pleted the stage with a smashed rear wheel af­ter clout­ing a kerb. The im­pact dam­aged a shock ab­sorber and with no time to change it his rally was over. For his part Bowen now had a gear­box prob­lem that would force him to tackle SS12 with only three gears but not know­ing Simp­son’s predica­ment he couldn’t back off. A re­lieved Bowen ac­knowl­edged at the fin­ish: “We’ve been lucky!”

Wil Owen and Rob Hopewell’s late en­try was serv­ing as a test ses­sion for their Ford Es­cort Mk2. Af­ter a trou­ble-free run, they fin­ished the day in sec­ond place.

Com­plet­ing the podium were Mark Holmes and Craig Simkiss who sur­vived a big mo­ment on SS9 in their MG Metro 6R4. Ear­lier in the day Paul Swift and Giles Dykes had been on course for a top three fin­ish be­fore their Es­cort Mk2 was forced out with trans­mis­sion prob­lems.

Head­ing a strong BMW con­tin­gent were Chris Rans­ley/darren Ikin, who fin­ished fourth in their M3 five sec­onds ahead ahead of Bran­don Smith/terry Martin’s Dar­rian T9. Martin Hodg­son/ Tony Jones then topped a quar­tet of Es­cort Mk2s ahead of Terry Clarke/ Dan May who gained three places with a last-stage dash.

De­spite flat­shift prob­lems from the out­set, Paul Evans/steve Mcnulty

DRIVER

Jo­han Kristoffersson An­dreas Bakkerud Se­bastien Loeb Pet­ter Sol­berg Rei­nis Ni­tiss Ken Block

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