Gale closes in on crown
Production 4 class leader Barry Gale, driving the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, has moved one step closer to winning the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Virgin Atlantic Overall Class Championship.With six class wins in the nine rounds so far run, he is now eight points clear of SuperModified 11 leader Mark Hamilton (Ford Escort MkII), the only driver who can deny him the title.Points tallyGale’s latest win came in the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc’s Rally Of The Sun & Stars on September 11, bringing his points total to 144, or 132 once his lowest score is dropped. Hamilton has also scored in every round, and dropping his lowest score brings his total in at 124.With free entry being offered by the BRC to the first 40 competitors to register for the championship’s final round, the Karcher Winter Rally (October 31), fully-subscribed classes are anticipated, which would help maintain the suspense until the season’s end.If Hamilton were to win a fully-subscribed SM11, he would finish on 144 points, leaving Gale needing 13 points – equivalent to third in class – to stay ahead.Since missing the season’s first event, an advantage at this stage of the season in that he has no low score to drop, SM10 leader Ian Warren (Suzuki Swift) has steadily worked his way up the table.Fifth after July’s Karcher Summer Stages, his seventh consecutive class win two weeks ago has now promoted Warren to third place, which could have been equal second, but for shortage of entries in the class limiting his points haul to 13.Warren’s promotion comes at the expense of early-season points leader Paul Bourne, who is sitting out the rest of the season now that his Ford Focus WRC07 has returned to England, and Modified 7 leader Freddie Gale (Toyota Corolla RunX); Gale senior is now fourth, one point behind Warren, with Bourne fifth on 112.ImpressiveAn impressive sixth is Jamal Brathwaite (Mitsubishi Mirage), who has been engaged in a closely fought battle with Edward Corbin (Daihatsu Charmant) in the second half of the season in a merged M5 & M6. Two class wins on Sol Rally Barbados allowed Brathwaite to draw level with early-season points leader Corbin, who scored no points. Brathwaite pulled ahead when Corbin again failed to score on the Karcher Summer Stages.A class win two weeks ago has not only allowed Corbin to peg back Brathwaite’s advantage from 16 to 12 points, but also moved him up to 10th place in the Overall Class standings; their battle for class honours will go down to the wire.In the Driver’s Championship, based on overall results, victory in the MCBI event has now moved Roger Hill (Toyota Corolla WRC) ahead of the absent Bourne, although he remains eight points behind Bourne in M8-WRC in the Class Championship.Roger Skeete has moved up to third in both the Driver’s Championship and M8-WRC at the expense of Trinidad-based Jamaican John Powell (Subaru Impreza WRC S12), who did not compete.