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Thursday, April 28, 2011
By Andrew Shepherd
This weekend plays host to the Jim Clark International Rally, Round 4 of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, and Manxman Rob Fagg will be hoping to continue his successful consistent start to the series. Competing alongside young Welsh driver Nick Cristofaro in a TEG Sport prepared and run Ford Fiesta ST for the Kelso based event, the new for 2011 pairing have enjoyed a strong start and it is hoped as the series moves to tarmac, the pair can continue this trend.

While currently lying an impressive fourth in the Formula 2 category, it is the UK Fiesta SportTrophy which is run inside the British Championship that is their main aim this year. The opening round of the series back in February saw Nick and Cannon Tech (Scotland) / Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors sponsored Rob take a superb runners up spot to the more vastly experienced, WRC Academy star, Craig Breen. Round two and there was another podium within grasp for the pair until a gearbox failure put paid to their charge and they were forced to nurse the car home to take fourth, still a good result in Nick’s first full season of stage rallying.

Last time out was always going to be tough, the Pirelli Rally is renowned as being one of the toughest gravel rallies on the UK calendar and it was with that in mind Nick and Rob had one goal in mind, to finish. This they would achieve and while their rivals hit trouble a good clean run netted them their second podium of the season (third) and ensured they remained in second spot in the overall championship table.

The current position held by the pair comes as somewhat of a surprise to Rob, as this year’s championship is full of talented drivers, most of whom have more experience that Nick of both the car and events.

“After sitting in with Nick on a pre-championship event back in January, it was obvious he had the talent and the more car time he had the quicker he would get” explained Synergy IT backed Fagg, “What has surprised me though is that nothing seems to faze him and he takes it all in his stride, I think that approach and a cool head is what has gone a long way to putting us in the position as we approach the half way stage of the championship. We have avoided trouble, or dealt with it positively, when all around seem to have found it and suffered and at the same time Nick is getting quicker, but to be second is a pleasant surprise.”

The Jim Clark will mark another first for Nick, as it will mark his closed road rally debut and provide him with his first experience of full asphalt rallying, although the youngster is no stranger to the black stuff. The former multiple-champion karter has varied tarmac experience from both his time on the circuits and from his F1000 days although this was limited to airfields and private roads. For sure though, this will be one of his biggest challenges yet in a season which appears to be full of them.

The event is run over two days with Friday providing stages in both daylight and darkness, adding another factor for the crews to deal with. Getting underway with a spectator super special stage around the Scottish Borders town of Duns, before the rally moves onto the classics Bothwell and Abbey St Bathans, a loop they will repeat before heading into overnight Parc Ferme around midnight following 45 miles of action.

A further 100 miles await the crews on Saturday spread across 10 stages, five individual tests each which will be run twice. Those that survive the fast demanding tarmac stages will return to the finish in Duns around 6pm. Live results for the event can be found

Rob is supported in 2011 by Cannon Tech. (Scotland) Ltd (, Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors, Synergy IT (, Cable Design Services (, Holton Homes (, Nicky Grist Motorsport ( and Fastime Stopwatches (