As the final countdown begins, all the pieces are falling in to place to make next weekend’s final round of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) 2017 Driver’s and Class Championships an event to remember. At more than 70 kilometres over 14 stages - the longest event outside Sol Rally Barbados in recent years – and with night-time tests and a steadily-growing overseas entry, the BRC Winter Rally looks set to bring the curtain down on the season in style.
 The event will open with two special stages at Vaucluse Raceway (VRW) on Friday evening (November 24), each crew covering two laps of the familiar nearly three-kilometre RallySprint track on each run, starting at 6.00pm. There will be ample opportunity for competitors to resolve any overnight issues, as Saturday’s stages do not start until early afternoon – the daylight stages, slated to start at 2.20pm, are Dark Hole to Spring Vale, alternating with Hangmans Hill to Lion Castle, each over 5kms.
 After the Dinner Halt, the restart will be at 7.00pm, with three runs each of a 4.50km stage from Four Hills to French Village and a downhill run from Canefield to Hangmans Hill (5.90km) to complete the day’s action; the Hangmans Hill stages, both north and south-bound, will run through VRW, using a new configuration, including an element of the infield karting track, also the Rallycross Joker Lap, constructed earlier this year in the south-east corner of the facility.
 After checking the route with Deputy Clerk of the Course Kreigg Yearwood, Rally Director Neil Barnard said: “We had to re-measure some things and check the state of the roads, but I really think this will bring our season to a brilliant conclusion. The overall distance, the number of stages and, of course, running in the dark certainly make it a tougher and more interesting rally on paper than the Shakedown Stages. I think competitors and spectators will enjoy this.”
 Although entries do not close at Motorsport Services in Haggatt Hall until next Wednesday (November 22), the Winter Rally has already attracted a quality entry from home and overseas. The running order will be published on Thursday, with the Briefing Meeting and Scrutineering scheduled for 5.00pm at the VRW Clubhouse.
 At the sharp end of the field, double Sol Rally Barbados winner Paul Bird (Ford Focus WRC07) is returning to compete in the island for the first time in more than two years, along with Rob Swann (Subaru Impreza WRC S12B), who finished second in Sol RB17; they will surely sharpen the focus of Jamaica’s Jeff Panton (Focus WRC06), looking to clinch the coveted BRC Champion Driver title in this final, high points-scoring, round.
 In the classes, regular Turks & Caicos Islands visitor Paul Horton (Citroen DS 3 R3 MAX) competes in Modified 2, with a chance of beating Daryl Clarke (Honda Civic) to the class win, while Pierre Beswick will campaign his Citroen C2 R2 MAX in M1; flying in from the United States, father and son crew George and Anthony Sherman will campaign Trinidad & Tobago’s David Coelho’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX in Group N.
 There is all to play for in the BRC Championship, as most class battles remain unresolved; with no dropped scores this year and an enhanced points structure for the Winter Rally – a class win will earn 28 points (up from 20), second 23, third 20, down to 10 for 10th place – championship hopefuls will need to bring their best game.
 The Winter Rally also plays host to the Barbados Historic Rally, the second component of the annual Barbados Historic Rally Carnival, which starts tomorrow (Saturday) at VRW with a RallySprint.
BRC Winter Rally
Special Stage Schedule
Friday, November 24
1800    SS1 & SS2 - Vaucluse Raceway (5.80km each)
Saturday, November 25
1420    SS3 - Dark Hole to Springvale 1 (5.00km)
1450    SS4 - Hangmans Hill to Lion Castle 1 (5.00km)
1520    SS5 - Dark Hole to Springvale 2 (5.00km)
1550    SS6 - Hangmans Hill to Lion Castle 2 (5.00km)
1640    SS7 - Dark Hole to Springvale 3 (5.00km)
1710    SS8 - Hangmans Hill to Lion Castle 3 (5.00km)
    Dinner Halt
1900    SS9 - Four Hills to French Village 1 (4.50km)
1940    SS10 - Canefield to Hangmans Hill 1 (5.90km)
2025    SS11 - Four Hills to French Village 2 (4.50km)
2105    SS12 - Canefield to Hangmans Hill 2 (5.90km)
2210    SS13 - Four Hills to French Village 3 (4.50km)
2250    SS14 - Canefield to Hangmans Hill 3 (5.90km)
Total SS Distance – 72.8kms
For media information only. No regulatory value.
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