COOPER TAKES TOP JAFFA PRIZE AT PEMBREY

West­wales Rally Spares Jaffa Stages

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - Re­sults Pho­tos: Mark Lit­tle

ini­tial eighth place to take the lead, shar­ing sec­ond fastest time with his grand­fa­ther Phil Turner, who him­self was on a charge, his Lancer E9 hav­ing been as low as 25th over­all af­ter go­ing off on stage one. Geoff Kitney/ken Gibbard were get­ting used to their hired Lancer E9, mov­ing up to sec­ond place, just three sec­onds be­hind the lead­ing crew.

Cooper showed no signs of feel­ing the pres­sure of for­mer Mo­tor­ing News Tar­mac cham­pion Kitney clos­ing in on him, as he set a blis­ter­ing time on SS4 tak­ing 19 sec­onds out of his ri­val to open up a com­fort­able mar­gin, as Kitney lost time in traf­fic.

With Jukes forced to re­tire fol­low­ing drive­shaft fail­ure, St­ef­fan DR Davies/ Rhys Jones were lead­ing two-wheeldrive crew in their Ford Es­cort Mk2, though Ian Ken­vin/phil Wil­liams would over­take them be­fore the end in his Es­cort Mk2, but they would hold on to win the road rally class.

On his first visit to Pembrey for a num­ber of years, Jim Mun­den was in the top five in his Im­preza be­fore slid­ing off on the Beach Road, two punc­tures cost­ing more time, whilst Ju­lian Reynolds re­tired his Es­cort Mk2 with gear­box is­sues.

Fastest time on the fi­nal stage rounded off the win in style for Cooper/ Wil­liams as they se­cured an as­sured vic­tory. Be­hind sec­ond placed Kitney, Shaun Price/marc Clat­wor­thy breathed a sigh of relief as they held on to third de­spite a last-stage punc­ture on their Subaru Im­preza, as Turner/si­mon An­thony closed to within 11 sec­onds.

Nor­mally seen on road ral­lies, Steve Knibbs/ger­wyn Barry hired a Subaru Im­preza for the day, and fin­ished in an im­pres­sive fifth over­all, just ahead of Dar­ren James/dafydd Sion Lloyd who had a good run, de­spite some tyre is­sues, to round off the top six. In the bat­tle for the two-litre class, God­ney fin­ished on equal times with Richard Mer­ri­man, but beat the Darrian T90 driver on a tie break.

Neil Weaver/jes­sica Hock­ley had a great run on their first visit to Pembrey fin­ish­ing in 13th po­si­tion in their Suzuki Swift and win­ning the 1400cc class, four places ahead of 1600cc win­ners John and Gor­don Leigh, whose Vaux­hall Nova sported some bat­tle scars af­ter a tough day of ac­tion.

Lydden Hill owner Pat Do­ran says the cir­cuit will make the 2017 round of the FIA World Rallycross Cham­pi­onship an event to re­mem­ber.

Do­ran says he will con­tinue to pur­sue plans to de­velop the track’s in­fra­struc­ture, de­spite con­fir­ma­tion that the Bri­tish round of World RX will move to Sil­ver­stone from 2018.

“Ini­tial con­tract dis­cus­sions with [World Rallycross pro­moter] IMG in­cluded the de­liv­ery of a devel­op­ment plan at Lydden Hill,” said Do­ran. “In 2015 the cir­cuit ap­plied to Dover Dis­trict Coun­cil to build a new en­trance, grand­stands and hospi­tal­ity cen­tre, which fell in line with the ris­ing demands of the growing event and cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions.

“How­ever, the ap­pli­ca­tion has dragged on and, al­though I have never based the new devel­op­ment on keep­ing the World RX Cham­pi­onship con­tract, I feel sure our in­abil­ity to de­liver the new fa­cil­i­ties in a timely man­ner may have slightly in­flu­enced the de­ci­sion.”

The for­mer Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship event win­ner and mul­ti­ple Bri­tish Rallycross cham­pion con­firmed that Lydden will con­tinue to work on its de­vel­op­ments, and rallycross events are a key part of the cir­cuit’s fu­ture.

“Our eyes are on this year’s World RX event. We an­tic­i­pate that it will be the most mem­o­rable [at Lydden], par­tic­u­larly as it is the 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion of rallycross. How­ever, af­ter this year’s event, I do wish Sil­ver­stone ev­ery suc­cess with their first World RX round in 2018.

“Al­though Lydden is sad to lose the event, we are look­ing for­ward with ex­cite­ment and op­ti­mism that the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the new fa­cil­i­ties will come to fruition. Rallycross is still a big fo­cus [for Lydden], we en­joy a fan­tas­tic work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Bri­tish Au­to­mo­bile Racing Club, which has worked very hard to bring the sport for­ward in Bri­tain, and we will con­tinue to work with them help­ing to grow the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship.

“I feel con­fi­dent that Lydden will con­tinue to thrive and we look for­ward to be­ing able to of­fer fab­u­lous new fa­cil­i­ties and an ex­cit­ing events cal­en­dar in the near fu­ture. Who knows, we may yet see World Rallycross come back at Lydden one day.”

The first ever rallycross event was held on Fe­bru­ary 4 1967 at Lydden Hill. The cir­cuit hosts the fifth round of the World Cham­pi­onship this year on May 27 /28.

Cooper/wil­liams beat all com­ers at Pembrey in their Mit­subishi Lancer E9

Lydden plans will press ahead

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