Successful debut for RallySafe event management system
A thrilling high-speed battle between rising star Dane Skeete and Britain’s Rob Swann in a pair of Subaru Impreza WRC S12Bs launched the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Driver’s & Class Championships in fine style yesterday (Sunday). Hundreds of spectators lined three special stage venues in the north of the island for the BRC Shakedown Stages to see Skeete soak up the pressure from the experienced Swann, fighting back through the field after losing time on the opening stage, and win by less than two seconds.
 The 10-stage season-opener also marked the introduction of the RallySafe timing and event management system, which drew universal praise, both on the ground and on-line, as fans across the world used the RallySafe app to follow the action. Rally Club PRO Neil Barnard said: “Yesterday was a steep learning curve for all involved, but I have to say the marshals did a sterling job as they only had a single training session.” Swann added: “The rally was so well run, and the new RallySafe system is fantastic.”
 Seeded at one, Swann and co-driver Darren Garrod – the Welshman celebrating his 40th birthday on Monday – hit trouble on the first 2.55-kilometre Josey Hill to Lamberts stage, when a boost pipe came off about three corners in, losing them 11 seconds to Skeete. Launch control failure on the start of stage two cost the British crew another 4secs to Skeete and co-driver Tyler Mayhew, before the fight-back started.
 Swann says: “We’d fixed the problem, but were not overly confident it would last, but we won the next six stages and got the gap down to half-a-second with two stages to go. Then the launch stopped working completely! Not so bad in Four Hills, as it is a down-hill start and still managed to win the stage, but the Rock Hall start was up hill; we pushed hard, went a second quicker then the previous run but it wasn’t enough. Dane drove well, but I expected no less, as I have always viewed him as a talented driver. We need a reliable car, so that’s now the focus for Rally Barbados. Big thanks to Darren, who turns 40 today, and all our sponsors.”
 Swann’s fight-back was helped on the first Four Hills stage after lunch, as Skeete explains: “I think if Rob didn't have the issues he had today, I wouldn't have ended up where I did, especially considering I had a slight off in the afternoon in Four Hills. I'm still green in the car and I haven't gotten heavy braking in the car right yet, so there is still a lot more learning to do.”
 The two Subarus headed the time sheets on eight of the 10 stages, Justin Campbell impressively second quickest on the day’s first stage in his BMW M3, although he was to miss the middle of the day following some electrical issues, while Skeete’s Four Hills moment allowed Trinidad & Tobago’s David Coelho to clock the second-fastest time in his Ford Fiesta R5.
 Brothers Roger and Barry Mayers finished first and second in 2wd and SuperModified 2, respectively third and seventh overall, both comfortable with the day’s work. Roger (Toyota Starlet) said: “We rectified our engine issues from last year and played around with some tyres during this event. The new tyres didn't give the confidence that was needed, as the car understeered quite a bit, and a swap to my last set of older-spec Hankooks brought an improvement of about 6 seconds in Four Hills.” Barry (Ford Fiesta) added: “We got more confident in the car as the morning progressed. We weren't 100 per cent there with Roger, but that was within my expectation and hopefully I have an answer for that in Rally Barbados.”
 Mark Thompson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) and Roger Hill finished fourth and fifth, battling throughout for honours in the new Modified 4 class, Thompson prevailing by just under 4secs, having been faster of the two on the first four of the day’s stages, run in mixed weather conditions. He said: “We started out with a solid first few stages avoiding spins and lock ups in the slippery stages. The car, crew and co-driver were flawless. We have to fully run through the car again for Rally Barbados to make sure we have reliability, as we want to continue running in the top rankings as we did in this event.”
 Alone in the FIA R5 class, finishing sixth overall, Coelho was also part of this battling group, which augurs well for Flow King of the Hill next month and Sol Rally Barbados over the first weekend of June, when an influx of four-wheel-drive cars from overseas is anticipated. Behind Barry Mayers, the top 10 was completed by SM1 and M3 winners Neil Corbin (Starlet) and Logan Watson (BMW M3) and Kurt Thompson (Honda Civic), who finished third in SM2.
 There were also wins in contested classes for the Turks & Caicos Motoring Club’s Paul Horton (M2 Citroen DS 3 R3 MAX), Edward Corbin (M1 Daihatsu Charmant), Ian Warren (Clubman 2 BimmaCup) and Andrew Jones (Group B Ford Escort MkII).
BRC Shakedown Stages - Sunday, April 7
BRC Driver’s & Class Championships, round 1
Official results:
1st Dane Skeete/Tyler Mayhew (WRC Sol/Automotive Art/CO Williams Sand & Lime Subaru Impreza WRC S12B), 18m 56.29s
2nd Rob Swann – ENG/Darren Garrod - WAL (WRC Elegant Hotels/Blue Sky Luxury/R A Swann Ltd Subaru Impreza WRC S12B), + 01.94s
3rd Roger Mayers/Sean Corbin (SM2 Chefette/Rubis/Hankook/Digicel/Illusion Graphics Toyota Starlet), + 52.66s
4th Mark Thompson/Kurt Seabra - GUY (M4 Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio
Beauty/Automotive Art/SLAM 101.1FM Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), + 54.15s
5th Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (M4 Esso/Nassco/Pennzoil/MaxMeyer Paints/MotorMac Toyota Corolla WRC), + 57.61s
6th David Coelho – T&T/Barry Ward (FIA R5 Subway/Zanzibar/Kaizan Sushi Ford Fiesta R5), + 58.89s
7th Barry Mayers/Ben Norris (SM2 Chefette/Rubis/Hankook/Digicel/Illusion Graphics Ford Fiesta), + 01:07.69s
8th Neil Corbin/Matthew Staffner (SM1 Nassco/Jason Jones/Valvoline/Sun General Insurance/Auto Solutions/Emtage Electric Toyota Starlet), + 01:31.75s
9th Logan Watson/Andrew Croney (M3 Leafy Organics/Cargo BGI/Luxe Caribbean Properties/Stihl/It’s Barbados/Sign Depot BMW M3), + 01:36.49s
10th Kurt Thompson/Adam Straker (SM2 Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio Beauty/King Ocean/Slam 101.1FM Honda Civic), + 01:59.52s
WRC: 1st D Skeete/Mayhew; 2nd Swann – ENG/Garrod - WAL
FIA R5: 1st Coelho – T&T/Ward
Modified 4: 1st M Thompson/Seabra – GUY, 19m 50.44s; 2nd Hill/Gittens, + 03.46s; 3rd George Sherman - USA/Joshua Plaza – T&T (Subway/Zanzibar/Kaizan Sushi Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), + 02:24.16s
SuperModified 2: 1st R Mayers/S Corbin, 19m 48.95s; 2nd B Mayers/Norris, + 15.03s; 3rd K Thompson/Straker, + 01:16.86s; etc
SM1: 1st N Corbin/Staffner, 20m 28.04s; 2nd Jeremy Gonsalves/Orry Hunte (Sign Depot/Guava Tech/Valvoline/Makita/In Gear Auto/John Hardman Engineering Opel Corsa), + 01:12.16s
M3: 1st Watson/A Croney, 20m 32.78s; 2nd Stan Hartling - TCI/Jeremy Croney (M3 Citroen C2 R2 MAX), + 01:50.52s
M2: 1st Paul Horton - TCI/Kris Yearwood (Java Island/Sky Motorsports/H Racing/Arbikie Highland Estate Citroen DS 3 R3 MAX), 20m 57.46s – 11th overall; 2nd Jamal Brathwaite/Dario Hoyte (Valvoline/Automotive Art/Consumers Guarantee Insurance/Caribbean Auto Glass/Stylz Auto Spa/Tec Barbados/Chicken Pen Racing Honda Civic Type-R), + 28.40s
M1: 1st Edward Corbin/Johnathan Alleyne (Valvoline/Hilti/Cargo BGI Daihatsu Charmant), 21m 15.28s – 12th o/a; 2nd Pierre Beswick – TCI/Leslie Evanson (Grace Bay Car Rentals/Hartling Luxury Resorts/Caicos Dream Tours Citroen C2 R2 MAX), + 03:08.49s; 3rd Kevin Wiggins/Darren Lashley (Johnson’s Auto/Zak Auto Parts/Dynamic Auto Imports/Therapy Partners Toyota Starlet), + 06:09.59s
Historic 2: 1st John Corbin/Owen Proverbs (Toyota Corolla), 26m 13.24s – 25th o/a
Clubman 2: 1st Ian Warren/Jason Cozier (West Lake/Benthams Farm & Garden Bimma Cup), 22m 11.10s – 15th o/a; 2nd Ryan Wood/Ben Da Silva (Carter’s Pit-Stop/Power King Batteries/Guava Tech/C&A Autobody Repairs/Sitemasters Construction Bimma Cup), + 16.83s; 3rd Greg Cozier/Natasha Farnum (Perkins & Sons Rum Bimma Cup), + 52.72s; etc
C1: 1st Jason Tull/Kareem Gaskin (Jay-T’s Auto Services/CA Autobody Repair Services/Dominus PHD/CST Tyres Peugeot 106 Rallye S2), 26m 40.85s – 26th o/a
Group B: 1st Andrew Jones/Lindsey Pilkington – ENG (Lucozade/Supreme Distributors Inc Ford Escort MkII), 20m 35.89s; 2nd Mark Huggins/Stephen Bell (Mark’s Auto Spares/General Distributors Daihatsu Charmant), + 05:17.34s