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2017/08 - Harry Flatters Rally (0 images) - created by Adge on 07/08/2017 at 19:51:58
Last weekend of the 30th July and it was back to the Epynt ranges for the Harry Flatters rally where in 2016 Adrian Spencer and Mark Hewitt in the Adgespeed, RED Industries, ABR Engineering backed Subaru Impreza WRC S11 rally car they finished 2nd O/A even after a big collision with a sheep resulting in a lot of cosmetic damage to the car and the team were hoping for a clean run on this years event.

With only 5 long stages it was going to be a tough day. Being seeded at car 5 was sign of the quality entry at the front end with National Champion Damian Cole at car 1 in his Ford Fiesta WRC who was going for his 50th rally win, followed by Steve Simpson who has swapped his Subaru Impreza WRC S12B for a brand new Ford Fiesta R5 at 3. Bob Fowden was at 3 in another Subaru Impreza WRC S11, a sister car to Adrian's. 4th was Eian Pritchard in a Ford Focus WRC 05. Hopefully these cars would be carrying out sheep clearing duties. Andy Fraser was seeded 6th having only just had the car rebuilt after last years rally due to an engine fire requiring a rebuild, but last minute drama's resulted in a no show, slotted in at 6 was Tomas Davies in another Ford Fiesta R5.

With the conditions damp in the service area, Adrian decided on inters and wet settings, but out on the stage dry tyres and settings would have be more suitable. Having not been able to do the recce due to an issue with the car not being ready in time Adrian and Mark set off and had a good run but not quite on the pace to set 5th quickest time on stage 1 a 14.1 miler. Damian Cole set the pace in 1st place, with Fowden and Davies joint 2nd and Simpson 4th only 2 seconds quicker than Adrian.

Back at service and with a change of tyres and settings, Adrian and Mark set off for stage 2 a repeat of stage 1. Now feeling much more confident in the car and conditions Adrian attacked and set the 2nd quickest time only 11 seconds off Damian Cole, this moved Adrian up to 3rd O/A which may have been helped slightly when Bob Fowden was forced to retire after hitting a sheep and badly damaging the front of his Subaru Impreza WRC S11. Adrian also took 10 seconds back from Davies which was encouraging.

Stage 3 which was Stage 1 run in the reverse direction was next and with the weather all over the place with heavy rain showers and bright sunshine the conditions were very tricky. Caught out in one of the heavy showers and then stalling at a tight hairpin resulted in Adrian and Mark dropping about 30 seconds, still setting 5th quickest time but dropping to 4th allowing Simpson to move up to 3rd but by only 5 seconds. Up front Cole set yet another fastest time to move further into the lead with Davies still in second.

Stage 4 a repeat of 3 another good run was needed to get back past Simpson and so was the case, taking 16 seconds back off Simpson to move back up to 3rd O/A. Up front Cole was extending his lead from Davies with yet another fastest time.

Stage 5 which was mainly the same as 4 but with a different ending after 4 ways cross roads. With conditions still variable, they set off and within 1/2 a mile of the start Adrian and Mark had a heavy rain shower and 3 near misses with various sheep, not a good start to the stage and then it all went down hill as half way through approaching a tight hairpin the car stepped out and although Adrian tried to correct the slide the front OS corner hit a large rock placed right on the apex, which forced the wheel back trapping it behind the cill and injuring Adrian's hand forcing them to retire on the spot.

A bad end to a good days rallying when 3rd O/A was on the cards, but to finish 1st, 1st you must finish.

Damian Cole won setting fastest times on every stage, Davies was 2nd 1.15 behind and Simpson 3rd a further 1.14 back.