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Record entry list for rally

Trevor Thorpe

Record entry list for rally

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An upsurge in overseas interest is pushing entries in the four-wheel drive section of Sol Rally Barbados 2012 to record levels.
With seven weeks to go before entries close, ten crews have been confirmed by the organizers Barbados Rally Club (BRC) for Modified 8-WRC along with M8-A and Production 4 as local competitors account for the entries in Group A and Group N respectively.
A total of 28 four-wheel drive entries have been received, compared with the previous highest, 25 in 2008 and 2009, as total entries have surpassed last year’s record 111.
Entries from British drivers Tom Roberts and Simon Wallis bring to 20 the number of international crews on the online entry list.
It will also be the fifth time Roberts is competing in Barbados. He will be hoping for better fortune than in 2009, when his M8-A Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, with co-driver Paul Rees, was taken away on a wrecker in the very first stage.
“It was the 17th corner, and I learnt an important lesson: ‘Do not overrule your co-driver when you think you can take a corner faster,’” he said.
After not finishing on his first visit in 2002, the Briton had two solid performances in the event. In 2005, he was 30th overall and second in P4 in a Subaru Impreza WRX. Three years later he was 21st overall and fourth in M8-A in an Evo VI.
Roberts will have his girlfriend Nicky Marriott as co-driver in the seat she has occupied since last year. They are coming off a third-place finish in the single-venue Brands Hatch Stage Rally two months ago.
Wallis will be on his eighth visit to Rally Barbados after coming for the first time in 2003, and his second in the P4 Wallis Performance Impreza N10.
He will be partnered by his sister Carolyn Pearce, who will be his seventh co-driver.
Wallis said his sister’s day job involves driving a rapid response vehicle at up to 120 miles per hour around Newcastle Upon Tyne, and he believes that navigating a rally car would be a low-speed day out for her.
This year Wallis will be at the wheel of an AVS Motorsport Ford Fiesta ST. He is currently leading N3 in the BTRDA series and E4 in the MSA English Rally Championship after two events.