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2018/03 - Tour of Epynt Rally (0 images) - created by Adge on 16/03/2018 at 17:01:55
Well its 2018 and with the return of the Protyre sponsored MSA National Rally Tarmac Championship a decision was made by Team Adgespeed to contest the championship, with events in Wales, Isle of Man, Belgium, England and Northern Ireland it would prove a tough challenge for the team in their ex Petter Solberg Prodrive built Subaru Impreza S11 WRC rally car. For 2018 the team would again be backed by RED Industries, ABR Engineering, Adgespeed and Hazwaste Environmental.

Due to family commitments Mark Hewitt, Adrian's regular codriver was unable to commit to the championship, so Adrian has enlisted Matt Daniels, a young and up and coming co-driver to the seat after they competed together for the 1st time on the Cheviot rally last year where they finished 5th O/A, on their first rally together.

The 1st round would be the Tour of Epynt, on the 11th March. Based over the military ranges in the Brecon Beacons it would be a tough start as the standard of entry was very high with last years winner of the event Bob Fowden at car 1 in a sister car to Adrian's, Damien Cole multiple tarmac champion at 2 in his Ford Fiesta WRC, Melvyn Evans, past English and Irish tarmac Champion in his newer Subaru Impreza S12b WRC at 3, Jason Pritchard bringing out his Fiesta S2000 instead of the Focus WRC at 4 and at 5 was Steve Simpson in Fiesta R5.

Adrian and Matt were seeded at 12 which was a little disappointing considering Adrian's previous results on the stages, but it told of the strength of the competition.

Into stage 1 a short 4 miler down the Burmah Road and it was not a good start for the pair when Adrian spun the car at the 1st hairpin causing them to lose 10 seconds and as usual right in front of the TV camera's and they ended up 24th O/A after the 1st stage. Adrian was disappointed but not having driven the car for 4 months and with the damp/muddy conditions, it could have been worse. Evans, Fowden and Cole all set identical times to be joint leaders. There was a short road section to the 2nd stage a 14 miler to get to grips with in the conditions and with a good run setting 5th quickest time even with some gear shift issues causing some concern, Adrian and Matt shot up the leader board to 9th O/A.

Again Evans and Cole set identical times to be joint 1st, with Fowden loosing a few seconds to be 4th.

Back to service and and with the service crew checking the car and trying to sort the gearbox issues, Adrian and Matt were off for stages 3 and 4, repeats of 1 and 2.

Stage 3 and with no repeat of the spin on the 1st corner, they then had a bit of a moment coming off the Burmah Road heading to Picadilly, with a bit of a tank slapper causing them to lose a few seconds, which dropped them to 10th O/A.

On to stage 4 and and the pace was good although a big moment over a bridge on the way down to Four Ways and then again some gearbox shift issues meant that the time was not as good as it should have been but they moved up to 8th.

Up at the front Evans was starting to put his authority on the event taking 8 seconds off Cole to move clear from Cole with Fowden just behind in 3rd.

With the conditions improving and with more work with the gearbox in service, Adrian and Matt went out for stage 5 which was stages 3 and 4 joined together to make a 16 mile stage. The push was now on and with no shift issues the pair moved up to 6th O/A.

Evans had a strong run take 15 seconds out of Cole to increase his lead to 26 seconds. Fowden made a mistake near the end of the stage sliding off the road, getting stuck in a ditch ending his rally on the spot. This allowed Pritchard to move up to 3rd with Simpson to 4th and Tout 5th

With car back in service for a check over it was time for stage 6 which was stage 5 but run in reverse starting at the Drovers end of the New Road and finishing just past the Llandeilo'r Fan triangle. With the car on song they set 5th quickest time and with the retirement of Tout in his EVO, the team moved into 5th O/A.

As is typical on Epynt the weather decided to have its say after having been dry all day and so it started raining, fortunately for the team having seen the colour of the clouds in the sky on the previous stage, the decision was made to fit the wet tyres and what a correct decision it was as it was raining heavily when they arrived at the stage start. Undaunted by the conditions Adrian and Matt set off and with out taking any risks, set 4th quickest time to hold on to 5th place at the end only 13 secs behind Simpson in 4th.

Melvyn Evans took the win from Damien Cole with Jason Pritchard 3rd.

A good days rallying for the team as when asked where he thought they would finish Adrian said if they got in the top 5 with the strength of the entry, then they would be happy as in the championship with 5 rounds to count from 6, points were needed.

The team is now getting the car ready and preparing for the next round on the Isle of Man in May