Kiwis win class on SS2 of Sunseeker Rally

The Sunseeker rally started in Bournemouth tonight on a wet and windy evening. With the rally cars starting at 30sec intervals, two special stages started on the streets of Bournemouth before turning onto the promenade and racing along beach line.

The day has been spent getting use to the way the British Rally championship is run. They have a competitor checkin where turbo sealing and noise checks are done, before the cars are taken to a different location where full scrutineering is taken place. There is a clock-in at scrutineering, and if the car is late, then lateness penalties are added to the driving crew… before the event is even started!! Then the driver and co-driver are allowed to do documentation.

The time cards that the co-driver gets is a very cumbersome near A4 size, and target time calculated between stages are calculated from your finish time at the end of the stage, rather than the start minute. This seems to stop people racing to service or the start of the next stage. Just after the Stop control on a Special Stage, there is a passage control, where someone will take the carbon copy of your timecard from the last stage you completed.

Non of the above was too hard to cope with, but the hardest part to British rallying is that all the distances are in miles, and the Brian Patterson generated Safety Notes are immensely different to the Neil Allport computer generated safety notes back in New Zealand. With no Recky allowed, it will take a few stages before we are both comfortable with this style of notes. An example is, a 1 Left in the Uk is a 4 Left in NZ!!!! The British style uses Acute (1 in NZ), Harpin (2 in NZ), Square (3 in NZ) and so on up to 6

There were no dramas in the first two stages, we just cruised through, loosing 7 tenths of a second to the class leader is SS1 and beating him by one tenth of a second in SS2. Overall we are 67. The quality of the field is high with many WRC and GpN 4wd cars competing.

Andrew found there was a lot to get use to in the little Fiesta, as the performance, braking and handling was vastly different to the Evo 8 used on the snow last weekend. It was also the first time he had competed in anger with a front wheel drive car, and the first time using a dog box. With no time for testing, the first time Andrew got to drive the car was for the 10 miles from the Rally start to the start of SS1!

Looking forward to tomorrows stages. They range in length from about 2km through to 18km, totaling approx 100km… or in British terms, 60 miles !  From what we have been told is that the roads are quite fast in places, with a lot of tricky ‘out of character’ bits to keep you on your toes!

A special thanks to the Rally organizers and marshalls, everyone has been very accommodating and helpful in allowing us to get to the rally start! Nothing has been a problem for them, and they have been treating us like guests!