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Three-way battle for title

Trevor Thorpe

Three-way battle for title

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The “drop score” rule may hold the answer to the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Drivers’ and Class Championships this year.

And the Winter Tarmac Sprint double-header, on October 12, offering up to a total of 30 points for two class wins, is expected to be a keenly contested affair, especially between front runners Daryl Clarke, Rhett Watson and Stuart White.

After scrutineering at the MTW’s Chance Hall depot in St Lucy at 8.30 a.m., the event is slated to start at 10 a.m. for round seven of the BRC Championship which will run from Josey Hill to Lamberts, with the direction being reversed for round eight. The lunch break will be at around noon, with the finish at approximately 3 p.m.

Clarke and Watson have each finished runner-up in the past two years and are tied on 116 points, but for White, it is unchartered territory. He is trailing on 113. The close contest may bring in to play the drop score rule under which each driver must drop the season’s lowest score.

It will not be business as usual as a far more intriguing picture emerges, placing White on 102 points between Watson (103) and Clarke (101).

And as if to further deepen the intrigue, there are other class leaders with a mathematical chance of easing into the top three positions at year end. Among them is reigning SuperModified 12 champion Watson, who will be at the wheel of the BMW M3. He was runner-up in last year’s drivers’ title chase.

Watson is unbeaten in the class this year, but a shortage of starters in the season opener cost him points, while he also failed to maximise Power Stage points in Sol Rally Barbados.

Clarke, driving a Honda Civic, won the Modified 7 title in 2012, when he finished runner-up in the standings. He also claimed maximum Power Stage points in Sol RB14, but a mechanical failure cost him the day two class win and an important five points.

White, competing in a BMW 325, on the other hand, won the BRC’s new Historic class title last year. He has been beaten only once this year, but also suffered from a badly-subscribed class in the season opener. He was the only entrant then, and trails the others by a small margin.

BRC’s competition secretary Neil Corbin said the stage is quite short but it has a few challenging areas that will test both high-speed and low-speed manoeuvrability, especially in the area of the hairpin between the cut rock.

“Many years ago, quite a few drivers found this section very challenging . . . unless you get it right, there’s lots of time to lose.

“This event will not be one to miss, as it represents the final two qualifying rounds for the BRC 2014 Championships,” Corbin said.