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Three-way battle brewing in Sol Rally


TREVOR THORPE

Three-way battle brewing in Sol Rally

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A three-way battle appears to be brewing as preparations move into high gear ahead of the close of entries for Sol Rally Barbados, from June 1 to 3.

The Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) champion driver Jamaica’s Jeff Panton says he is looking forward to another amazing Rally Barbados following his hat trick of wins since 2015.

A four-time winner of the club’s blue riband event, Panton confirmed his participation after a successful return to competition in Barbados last weekend.

He won the Motoring Club Barbados Inc. (MCBI) Full Throttle’ 18-speed event from Pickerings to Lamberts, St Lucy, in the Rubis/Sandals Barbados/KIG Ford Focus WRC06.

“We used the speed event on Sunday to shake down the car and it felt great, with no issues,” said Panton, who was the Caribbean Rally champion in 1996 and 1998.

The first regional winner of the former International All-Stage Rally in 1998, with John de Mercado in a Toyota Celica GT4, Panton has built a reputation as the region’s most successful driver.

He won on tarmac in Barbados in 1998 and from 2015 to 2017 and triumphed on gravel in Jamaica nine times between 1994 and 2015 while winning in Trinidad & Tobago in 2011 and 2013.

Added to the mix is 13-time winner of the event, Roger ‘The Sheriff’ Skeete, who will drive his Subaru Impreza WRC S12B.

Former UK National Rally champion Paul Bird, who won the event in 2012 and 2013, is returning after a two-year absence in a Ford Focus WRC08.

“I always look forward to racing against Paul. Win, lose or draw, it makes for a highly competitive rally. We are looking forward to another amazing Rally Barbados and we will do our best,” Panton added.

With two weeks to go before the close of entries, more than 70 crews have registered via the online entry list on the official web site rallybarbados.net.

Among them are Rally Trinidad 2018 winner Ryan Pinheiro and UK newcomer Geoff Phelps, boosting the four-wheel drive entries to 22.

Sol Rally Barbados will be preceeded by The Rally Show and Flow King Of The Hill on May 26 and 27. (TT)

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