Rally rivals tune upCUTTING SHOW: Paul Bird of England driving a Ford Focus 2008 WRC, making a big cut around a corner at Lion Castle, St Thomas. (Rawle Culbard)
By Stephan Walker | Wed, June 06, 2012 - 12:00 AM
With the Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill event over, it is now time for the biggest motorsport spectacular in the Caribbean – the Sol Rally Barbados 2012.
For the past year, the Barbados Rally Club has worked in conjunction with the Barbados Tourism Authority to prepare and market the event.
They have put together three overseas packages, including two drivers from Britain in both the M8-WRC class and the two-wheel drive class.
However, neither Tim Pearcey nor Roger Duckworth appears to be in the “drivers to look for category”.
From Britain, Paul Bird and Rob Swann are the ones to watch.
Bird has the best record of any overseas driver with two second-place finishes and two third places.
He also won last Sunday’s event and must be full of confidence.
Rob Swann is the unknown quantity the event. This year, he is driving his-built Subaru Impreza prepared to meet WRC regulations.
His neat driving style saw him place fifth last year in his first WRC class outing.
From the region will be John Powell and Jeffrey Panton.
Powell is fresh from wins in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and is looking to complete a Caribbean hat-trick here in a rally that has eluded him.
Panton is driving his newly acquired Ford Focus 06 WRC and must now want to reclaim the title he won in 1998.
In the two-wheel drive class, Neil Armstrong is the man to beat.
His Starlet has won the two-wheel drive battle in every event it was entered and is known for “giant killing” feats.
The real favourite, though, is Barbadian Roger Skeete, who is looking to win his 13th rally and set a record for completing a third hat-trick of wins.
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