Bajans hang tough in rally
A high fever was not enough to prevent the pair of Neil Armstrong and Max Ferri from finishing in the top 15 of the just-concluded Rallye Sunseeker International, the opening round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship.
Armstrong, a four-time Barbados Rally Club (BRC) group champion, and Ferri finished 13th overall and tenth in class despite Armstrong’s battling a high fever.
They drove an MSR Motorsport-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, liveried to promote Sol Rally Barbados 2011 June 4 and 5.
“Being able to do your own notes on a recce is obviously a plus – you’ve seen the stage, driven the stage, you get a feel for it,” said co-driver Ferri.
“Last time we did this, we worked off somebody else’s notes and a video. It was helpful, but being able to drive the stage and do your own notes was a lot more normal, for Neil as well. So the whole collaboration between us was better and we were a lot more confident.”
Hot young rallying talent from the British Isles, many with championship wins already to their credit, as well as competitors from Australia, Finland and Estonia, made the competition extremely tough for the Barbadians.
Ferri said it was a pleasure doing Rallye Sunseeker again.
“The organisation was absolutely fantastic, the stages were brilliant, but unfortunately Neil fell ill on the recce and his condition became worse throughout the day.
“Halfway through the day, we almost thought of stopping and closing off the event as he was not really in a position to drive.
“We decided to keep going because, at the end of the day, we’re here to represent the country and we wanted to make sure we did a good job and finish the rally, which was the whole point.
“We didn’t have a fantastic result, but we still came 13th, so we were still very happy with the final result.
“It was a very, very challenging event, definitely one of Neil’s hardest drives in his life for sure,” Ferri noted.
Organised by the Southern Car Club, Rallye Sunseeker is the only major rally in the south of England.
The gravel event offers around 60 miles through 11 stages, varying from 2.58 to 10.55 miles, and also includes national and historic events.
It was won by double Scottish Rally champion David Bogie in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. He will be among the starters for Sol Rally Barbados in June.