A MASTERFUL performance. That’s how Suzuki engineers described the performance of Neil Armstrong and Barry Ward in the Sol/Simpson Motors Suzuki SX4 during last weekend’s gruelling 22-stage Rally Trinidad. After fitting a new gearbox to the car at the end of the second day’s action, Armstrong and Ward showed little discomfort as they went on to finish second in the rally with a total elapsed time of one hour, 37 minutes, 42.18 seconds. The much-fancied Jamaican pair of Jeff Panton and Mike Fennell Jr., in the Total Oil Ford Focus WRC, won the event in a time of one hour, 32 minutes, 99.28 seconds. The Barbadian pair, competing for the first time in the car, lost the fourth gear during the eighth stage of the post-lunch session on the second day of the event that attracted 26 pairs from Jamaica, Barbados and the host country. “We will examine the ‘box’ after the rally to determine what caused the problem, but that apart, we are satisfied,” said Simon Wallis, a member of Armstrong’s crew. “He [Armstrong] has turned in an outstanding performance with the car and we are satisfied so far as he had no real seat time before going into this rally,” added Wallis. Armstrong said he was comfortable with the car and how it performed and was looking forward to the rest of the season. Last year’s winners, John “Penti” Powell and Nick Telfer, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo.1X, took third spot with a total elapsed time of one hour, 40 minutes 54.54 seconds. Fourth were another Barbadian driver, James Betts, and co-driver Jason Costelloe, in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1V. After battling tyre problems on the second day and a damaged rear differential on the final day, they ended with a total elapsed time of one hour, 42 minutes 01.99 seconds. The Barbadian pair of Dean Serrao and Jeremy Croney, in a Ford Escort Cosworth WRC, dropped out after the opening Super Special at the Haseley Crawford Stadium. Fellow countrymen Harold Morley and Kreigg Yearwood, in a Subaru N14, were forced out after running out of fuel on the final day.