Graham Coffey will be back for his second Sol Barbados Rally, next year. (GP)
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Three British drivers have already confirmed that they will be returning for next year’s Sol Rally Barbados at the wheels of Subarus.
Rob Swann (S12B) and Simon Wallis (N10), who will be both competing in the event for the 11th time, will be joined by attorney at law Graham Coffey (Impreza WRC S12B) for the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international event.
Organised by the Barbados Rally Club (BRC), next year’s rally will run from Friday to Sunday, June 1 to 3, following the Rally Show and Flow King of the Hill on May 26 and 27.
In the two months since entries for the 29th running of the club’s premier event opened, more than 50 drivers have confirmed participation on the official website, with a record interest from overseas.
Coffey, who finished eighth on debut in this year’s rally, is from Rochdale in the north-west of England. He has been a competitor for 21 years.
“I learned quite a lot in my first experience of Barbados, in particular the road surface. People were telling me the grip’s not that great, and I actually thought that the grip wasn’t bad,” said Coffey.
He also said he was expecting more of a holiday type of rally.
“The fact is that it is a full-on, amazing, and great rally. I probably went with the wrong mindset, but now I know more about what goes on and how it operates. I’m really looking forward to another crack at it next year,” said Coffey, whose co-driver will again be Welshman Patrick Walsh.
Swann’s S12B is already in the island, having finished second in last month’s BRC Winter Rally. Reunited with Welsh co-driver Darren Garrod for this year’s Sol Rally, Swann matched his previous best of second (2014), making four top six finishes since his debut in 2008.
“We enjoyed the Winter Rally, but had a problem which turns out to be connected to the brake pressure and centre diff. We spun twice Friday night, losing time, and then had to drive all Saturday with the diff locked and no handbrake,” Swann noted.
“We ran the whole day on full wet tyres, the first time I have used any in 10 years of rallying in Barbados. I will do some speed events and the Shakedown Stages as preparation for RB18,” he added.
For computer specialist Wallis, his 11th trip to Barbados will be the fifth driving the N10 and his third with co-driver Peter Horsman. Wallis has been on the class podium five times in seven finishes.
Originally a Group N car, it now runs in Group A, with a larger turbo restrictor and a carbon fibre boot lid and rear spoiler. (PR/EZS)