Sol Rally Barbados 2015 was an occasion for the Ford Focus to reign supreme as Jeffrey Panton and Mike Fennell, Simon Jean Joseph and Jack Boyere, and Paul Bird and Aled Davies took the top three positions at the end of three days of exciting rallying yesterday.
The Jamaican duo won the prestigious Barbados Rally Club event in one hour, 59.71 seconds, with the French pair of Joseph and Boyere second at +02.09 seconds off the pace, and the British pairing of Bird and Davies finishing +08.62 seconds for third. Ace driver Roger Skeete and co-driver Louis Venezia were the top finishing local pairing in a well put together Subaru Impreza WRC S12 (+ 02:22.54).
Barbados’ Rhett Watson, who finished seventh overall, was the top two-wheel driver for the second year in a row. He was joined behind the wheel of a BMW M3 by co-driver James Hutchinson.
Barbados’ Roger Hill and Graham Gittens drove a Toyota Corolla WRC into a ninth overall position (+05:50.19) and also second spot for WRC-2 cars. Local team of Jamal Brathwaite and Dario Hoyte were 32nd overall in a Honda Civic and were also tops among Modified 7 cars.
The highest placed female entrant was England’s Cheryl Spencer behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Astra. She was partnered by compatriot Barry Spencer and they registered a time of +39:22.58.
English woman Melanie Holmes who called notes for Simon Mauger in a Ford Escort MkII was the top placed female co-driver with the pair finishing in 10th position.
There were 89 starters in the Sol Rally with 44 Barbadian entrants, 40 international crews and five regional participants. Of these 55 completed the rally with 24 Barbadian crews staying the distance, 28 international competitors making it to Sunday’s final day and three regional entrants finishing the gruelling and exciting event.
The Rally started and finished at the Parallel Track at Bushy Park, St Philip and also took in the Vaucluse Raceway in St. Thomas.
Summary of top ten finishers:
1st Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Michael Fennell Jnr – JAM ( Ford Focus WRC06), 1h 00m 59.71s
2nd Simon Jean-Joseph – FRA/Jack Boyere – FRA (Ford Focus WRC08), + 02.09
3rd Paul Bird – ENG/Aled Davies – WAL (Ford Focus WRC08), + 08.62
4th Toni Gardemeister – FIN/Timo Alanne – FIN (Suzuki SX4 WRC), + 01:20.36
5th Roger Skeete/Louis Venezia (Subaru Impreza WRC S12), + 02:22.54
6th Rob Swann – ENG/Aled Edwards – WAL (Subaru Impreza WRC S11), + 02:50.67
7th Rhett Watson/James Hutchinson (BMW M3), + 04:51.84
8th Kevin Procter – ENG/Philip Hopkins – ENG (Subaru Impreza WRC S7), + 05:31.81
9th Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (Toyota Corolla WRC), + 05:50.19
10th Simon Mauger – ENG/Melanie Holmes – ENG (Ford Escort MkII), + 06:36.10