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2019/11 - PD Extinguishers Hall Trophy Rally (2 images) - created by Adge on 17/12/2019 at 18:08:55
With only 3 weeks from the Neil Howard Rally the RED Industries, Adgespeed, ABR Fabrications backed rally team of Adrian Spencer were on tenderhooks hoping the car would be ready for the rally due to the fitting of a new engine/turbo package. As usual in rallying it was finished the just in time to set off to the PD Extinguishers Hall Trophy rally held at the Blyton Driving Centre near Doncaster which they had decided to enter as it would be a good shake down for the engine/turbo package.

Also being seeded at car 1 was a bit of a shock as seeded at car 2 was Dave Campling in his Subaru Impreza S10 WRC car and at 3 Steve Simpson of Simtek ECU fame who also maps Adrians cars in his Subaru Impreza a previous winner at the venue this year on the Jack Neil Rally and also in the past, along with other challenging crews of Darren Meadows, Martin Pavier and Steve Booth completed the top 6.

Another change for Adrian was a new codriver in Lauren Hewitt, the daughter of his regular co-driver Mark Hewitt who couldn't make it on this occassion due to other commitments.

So on a wet cold morning Adrian and Lauren headed to the startline of the 1st stage. This was going to be interesting as Adrian had only driven the car from the service area to the start line a distance of 100 yds, so had no idea of how the car would perform and being car 1 the pressure was on.

Off they went and it immediately obvious how much quicker and responsive the car felt and as they slid and splashed their way round, they completed the stage without any errors and were amazed to find themselves in the lead by 2 seconds from Steve Booth as both Campling and Simpson both had spins dropping them down the field to 15th and 12th respectively.

Stage 2 had a few moments as Adrian pushed to keep the lead, but Steve Booth topped the time sheets to take the lead by 2 seconds from Adrian who was 4th quickest behind Campling and Simpson.

Stages 3 and 4 were really good for Adrian and Lauren as they pushed on being joint fastest on 3 with Campling, to take the lead by 3 seconds from Booth, but then Adrian went fastest on stage 4 by 4 seconds from Meadows to lead the event by 11 seconds from Booth as Campling dropped down the order to 5th.

A rearrangement of the stages and it was on to 5 and 6. Campling made no mistakes on these stages to take the fastest times on both, Adrian set 3rd quickest on 5 and 2nd quickest on 6 but Campling was on it and using the power of the WRC impreza took 11 seconds from Adrian to move into 2nd O/A behind Adrian. In doing so Campling had narrowed the gap to Adrian from 26 seconds down to 15.

With the conditions improving and decision was made to change tyres to a different tyre for stage 7, it was obvious that when Campling didn't make any mistakes, it was going to be very hard to beat him, but these took a bit to work and a few big moments meant that Adrian could only set 3rd quickest time, losing 9 seconds to Campling who was fastest.

With the tyres now working Adrian improved by 11 seconds but still Campling still took another 2 seconds out of Adrians lead, so at the end of stage 8 Adrian's lead was down to 2 seconds.

For the last 2 stages which were more open and flowing stages where power would have a big advantage it was time to put the lights on as it was now getting dark and thinking the lead was about to lost Adrian was surprised to take 2 seconds back from Campling who made a mistake and lost seconds with a 4th quickest time behind Adrian who was 3rd quickest.

So down to the last stage and with only a 4 second lead it was all or nothing, everything that didn't need to be in the car was removed including the spare wheel. Adrian set off into the stage driving as fast as he could and went 7 seconds quicker setting the 2nd quickest time, but it was all to no avail as Campling blitzed the stage going 16 seconds quicker than his previous run to take 7 seconds from Adrian. So the final result was Campling taking the win by 3 seconds from Adrian with Simpson 3rd, 44 seconds behind who had held on to that position from stage 6. Darren Meadows finished 4th just 4 seconds behind Simpson.

Pity the rally didn't finish after stage 9 commented a dissappointed Adrian, who had finished 2nd there before nearly 3 years ago in his then Subaru Impreza WRC S11.

But all in all it was a great days battle against some quick drivers and cars all day in the slippy conditions.

It was also a great result for the team to be best of the rest behind a WRC car.

It also proved the power of the new engine/turbo package which hopefully has some more development to come which bodes well for some top results in 2020.