ADVICE FROM WRC MAN EVANS HELPS NEWBY TO BREAN WIN
TEG Sport driver Newby finally overturned Steve Furzeland for victory
Organiser: Club Rally Sport West When: January 28/29 Where: Brean Leisure Park, Burnham-on-sea Championships: ASWMC Sealed Surface, AWMMC Heart of England; CMSG Stages: 12 Starters: 98
Phoning a World Rally Championship driver halfway through the Brean Stages Rally helped Arron Newby and co-driver Ian Davis to victory on the event.
When their Subaru Impreza struggled for grip on Saturday’s greasy, rain-affected stages, Newby rang World Rally star Elfyn Evans for car set-up advice. It enabled Newby’s team to improve differential and damper settings and he dominated Sunday’s six stages, setting five fastest times in appalling wet conditions to take victory by 1m19s from Jim Munden/andy Frost (Impreza), with Steve and Yvonne Furzeland (Impreza S12 WRC) third.
Conditions at the Somerset venue proved extremely tricky from the start; rain settled onto the dusty asphalt roads, turning the surface into a greasy, gripless slime. Despite this, Newby took the early lead, helped when Furzeland hit a kerb and got stuck between some trackside bales.
Munden, in his second season with the Impreza after many years in Ford Escorts, settled into third spot, chased by a pack that included Andy Vey/richard Fletcher, Phil Turner/simon Anthony (both Mitsubishi Lancers) and Karl Broad/ Roger Grant (Impreza S9 WRC). Rear-wheel drive competitors suffered particularly badly in the slippery conditions: despite running on soft compound tyres, third seeds Josh Payton/marcus Mizen (Ford Escort Mk2) suffered a time-consuming spin that dropped them out of the top 20.
The early mistake spurred Furzeland into action and he worked hard to reduce Newby’s advantage, grabbing the lead on stage four. Munden continued to hold third, his decision to fit bigger brakes over the winter paying dividends as he held off challenges from both Turner and Vey.
Eventually the pressure told on the Evo drivers; both spun and lost over a minute, dropping them out of contention. But Munden could not rest easy, as James and Ben Harvey and Danielle Furzeland/jason Parsonage (both Imprezas) moved into the reckoning by the end of day one.
Sunday heralded leaden skies and daylong heavy rain. Furzeland’s earlier fightback immediately came to nought on the opening stage. “The intercom and the heated windscreen failed on the startline and then we hit a bale – we’ve lost about 40 seconds,” he announced ruefully.
With the deadlock broken, Newby put his Impreza’s improved handling to good use and built an unassailable lead. Furzeland never gave up the chase but he made further mistakes on later tests and was forced to surrender second place to Munden, who displayed consistent top three pace throughout both days.
Harvey clung determinedly to fourth spot and despite losing time on stages nine and 10 with spins, held off late charges from Andy Corner/ade Camp and Dai Roberts/ Max Freeman (both Peugeot 205s). With conditions worsening in the closing miles, Roberts in particular showed prodigious pace, setting a brace of fourth fastest times in his 1600cc machine. Danielle Furzeland survived a huge moment on stage 10 – colliding with a concrete gatepost and heavily damaging her Subaru’s left side – to finish seventh, ahead of James Nicholls/ Luke Harlow (205). They smilingly admitted to having a superb weekend: “We haven’t laid a spanner on the car and we’re really pleased to be in the top 10.”
Minor gearbox issues failed to faze ninth-placed Tony Munden/dave Perrott (Impreza) while a last-minute borrowed engine enabled Stuart Bliss/richard Marsh (Honda Civic) to finish 10th.
1 Arron Newby/ Ian Davis (Subaru Impreza) 1h8m49s; 2 Jim Munden/ Andy Frost (Impreza) +1m19s; 3 Steve Furzeland/yvonne Furzeland (Impreza S12 WRC); 4 James Harvey/ Ben Harvey (Impreza); 5 Andy Corner/ade Camp (Peugeot 205); 6 Dai Roberts/ Max Freeman (205); 7 Danielle Furzeland/jason Parsonage (Impreza P2000); 8 James Nicholls/ Luke Harlow (205); 9 Tony Munden/ Dave Perrott (Impreza); 10 Stuart Bliss/ Richard Marsh (Honda Civic).
Class winners Perry Gardener/jamie Vaughan (Vauxhall Nova); Roberts/ Freeman; Corner/ Camp; Richard Poole/jim Clarke (BMW M3); Newby/ Davis.
Double World Rallycross champion Petter Solberg and 2017 team-mate Johan Kristoffersson have begun testing the Volkswagen Motorsport built Polo RX Supercar that they will race this year. Both drivers drove the car at Loheac in France last week, the first roll out for the new machine. “it was just a small test, you know, to look over and check everything,” said Solberg. ”We will continue to do more testing now in the next few months – we have a good time planned.” solberg confirmed that the new cars will feature transversely mounted engines, moving away from the longitudinally orientated units he has used in his privately-run Citroen DS3.
Newby flew in tricky conditions
Dai Roberts/max Freeman steered their road rally-spec 205 to a sixth overall