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Thursday, April 28, 2011
By Jon Suter
http://www.jmsphotograpic.co.uk
 

Manx Rally Co-Driver Rob Fagg continues his Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship campaign this weekend as he contests round three of the series, the Pirelli International Rally based in Carlisle.

Teaming up once again with 17 year old Welshman Nick Cristofaro, for what is also a round of the UK Fiesta SportTrophy, the pair will tackle the tough Cumbrian event in their TEG Sport prepared Ford Fiesta ST and look to put the disappointment of the previous round behind them.

On that occasion Nick and Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors supported Rob had entered a battle for the final podium spot in the Fiesta series and were confident they had the pace to take it and vital points in the championship. Unfortunately an issue with the gearbox left the pair with only third gear midway through the penultimate stage and in total they were left to complete 10 miles putting paid to there hopes and causing obvious disappointment for the crew.

“The last minute dramas on the Bulldog obviously caused disappointment for us as we felt we could take third place in the Fiestas and another good set of points with it” explained Rob, “We have to be positive though and be grateful we got to the end and recorded a finish getting further points both in the Fiestas and the Formula 2 category of the BRC.”

The result added to that of the opening round sees the pairing currently lie in fifth place in Formula 2 while they sit in second place in the Fiesta SportTrophy behind the vastly experienced Craig Breen, it what could be a championship where consistency proves beneficial. While their rivals have been hitting troubles causing retirement, Nick and Rob have been getting to the finish and not only getting points but also miles under their belt which is showing in the stage times as Nick gains more experience in his first full season of stage rallying.

While Rob is in his 12th year of competing, Nick is a novice having only contested three stage events following his 17th birthday towards the end of last year. With each event his confidence is growing and co-driver Rob is sure there is more to come from the talented youngster.

“This weekend is our fifth event together and in each one so far Nick has showed improvement and his pace is getting quicker each event we do” commented Rob, “The key thing is car time and that means finishing as the limited budget does not allow for testing before events.”

The Pirelli International Rally runs over two days and is primarily based at the Carlisle Racecourse. Friday night will consist of two stages in Kershope with drivers having the added challenge of firstly fading light and then a run in the dark, something drivers in the UK are not really familiar with.

Between the two Kershope runs, the general public will be able to get close to the crews as they gather in Newcastleton, if previous events are anything to go by the occasion is bound to draw the crowds.

Following the overnight halt the action resumes early on Saturday when 10 stages await in the challenging Kileder Forest complex. Included in these are classics such as Pundershaw, Shephardshield and Chirdonhead and with the more faster and flowing nature than those contested on previous rounds its sure to be a challenge.

The competing crews who survive the notorious ‘Killer Kileder’ will return to the finish at Carlisle Racecourse on Saturday around 7pm following almost 100 competitive stage miles. Live results for the event can be found at www.pirelliinternationalrally.com

Rob is supported in 2011 by Cannon Tech. (Scotland) Ltd (www.cannontech.co.uk), Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors, Synergy IT (www.synergyit.co.im), Cable Design Services (www.cdsl.net), Holton Homes (www.holtonhomes.co.uk), Nicky Grist Motorsport (
www.nickygrist.com) and Fastime Stopwatches (www.astopwatch.com)