With changeable weather conditions making life tough for the 40-strong field, Neil Armstrong (Suzuki SX4 WRC) triumphed in the Barbados Rally Club’s Summer Nights Tarmac Sprint event last Saturday evening.
The Hangman’s Hill to Lion Castle, St. Thomas stage offered drivers a different challenge on each of the four runs – dry for practice, wet for the first official run, damp for the second, almost completely dry for the final. With tyre choice crucial, and inconsistent surface conditions throughout the course, the final tarmac event in the 2013 BRC Virgin Atlantic Driver’s and Class Championships gave the huge crowds a superb evening of entertainment.
Armstrong’s last-run time of 1 minute 49.27 seconds gave him victory by more than one second from Roger Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12). After a bad tyre choice on the first run, then a puncture on the second, Skeete admitted to “negotiating the hairpin right on dry weather tyres for the first time that evening, losing lots of time”, but added “congrats to Neil and the SX4 crew in general.”
Paul Bourne (Ford Focus WRC07) finished third, just three- thousandths adrift of Skeete, with Dean Serrao fourth, recording his first WRC-2 class win in the Sugar Ultra Lounge Impreza WRC S9, and noting that “there’s no substitute for seat time. Having done some testing a couple of weeks ago, I felt quite comfortable pushing the car to the max.”
Roger Hill (Toyota Corolla WRC) finished fifth, second to Serrao in WRC-2, with the leading two-wheel-drive car, the BMW M3 of Rhett Watson, sixth. Victory in SuperModified 12 keeps Watson in the hunt for the drivers’ championship, his final run better than expected.
“I had a flawless run and felt confident it would be a top three 2wd time, but fastest 2wd time and sixth overall was quite beyond my expectation,” he said. Watson remains tied with Conor Roach (Peugeot 106), who won the Clubman class, with three more rounds to go.
From the 6.30p.m. start of the practice run, the event was completed within three hours, despite a few issues. On the practice run, Avinash Chatrani slid off at the Lion Castle crossroads, requiring a wrecker to remove his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI from a dangerous position, while the wrecker was at work again after the second official run to collect Edward Corbin’s Toyota Corolla RunX, which suffered gearbox failure, and Trevor Manning’s BMW M3. (RB)
BRC Summer Nights Tarmac Sprint Provisional results – top ten 1st Neil Armstrong (Suzuki SX4 WRC), 1m 49.27s 2nd Roger Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12), 1m 50.41s
3rd Paul Bourne (Ford Focus WRC07), 1m 50.44s 4th Dean Serrao (Subaru Impreza WRC S9), 1m 54.41s 5th Roger Hill (Toyota Corolla WRC), 1m 54.77s 6th Rhett Watson (BMW M3), 1m 55.29s 7th Ian Warren (Suzuki Swift), 1m 56.82s 8th Josh Read (Toyota Starlet), 1m 57.80s 9th Dane Skeete (Peugeot 306 Maxi), 1m 58.02s 10th Geoff