Latest News  Fagg to Wales to defend Championship lead
Tuesday, July 4, 2017



Hugh and Rob earlier in the season on the Somerset Stages 

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Photo courtesy of RallySport Media (https://www.facebook.com/rallysportmedia/)
 

Wales beckons for Isle of Man rally co-driver Rob Fagg this weekend, as he tackles the Nicky Grist Stages, based in Builth Wells.

The event is round 5 of the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series and after consistent results Robert Graham & Co Chartered Quantity Surveyors backed Fagg tops the co-driver’s standings at the half way point.

It means a change of car and surface for Rob, whose most recent event was the Donegal International Rally in mid-June with TT ace Michael Dunlop in a MKII Ford Escort, an event they finished 18th overall in the National category.

This weekend though he reverts to North Wales driver Hugh Hunter (Ruthin), stepping back into the Dom Buckley RSC prepared and run, R S Hunter Tarmac backed Ford Fiesta R5. The pair have previously also used a Ford Focus WRC 02 in the series, but they have made the decision to keep continuity in machinery in a bid to help their pace in their title quest. Hugh currently lies in second place in the driver’s standings.

The last round, the Carlisle Stages, was at the start of June during which the pair struggled on with a misted-up windscreen hampering progress.

Whilst fighting back up the leaderboard from early time losses, they suffered a time consuming off-road excursion. They eventually finished ninth, but nonetheless picked up vital points in the series to keep them in the hunt for honours.

“We went to Carlisle with hopes of a strong result but it just wasn’t to be, we dropped so much time as the windscreen misted up in the warm but damp conditions and Hugh was just unable to see the road and commit” explained JR Hinchliffe Plumbing and Heating sponsored Rob, “Fifth was not out of reach but as we pushed for the result we went off the road as the car got out of the ruts, we were lucky to finish as it was the corner which claimed event leader Connor (McCloskey) earlier in the event”.

However, with dropped scores a major factor in the series, Hunter and MC Locksmiths supported Fagg know that they are in need of a good points

haul this weekend. With five scores to count from the seven rounds making up the championship, things will be much clearer come the end of the Nicky Grist stages, named after Colin McRae’s former co-driver and the event sponsor.

While main title contenders Stephen Petch and Connor McCloskey have already dropped scores this season, Callum Black has been ever consistent and sits at the top of the drivers’ standings. Those three drivers along with Carlisle Stages victor Peter Taylor are sure to be in the mix come Saturday evening for podium positions alongside Hunter and Fagg.

The Lewis and Hunter Contracting supported pair though do have a slight disadvantage against their rivals despite all competing in Ford Fiesta’s.  Petch, McCloskey and Taylor all have the powerful WRC variant at their disposal while Black uses a R5+ model. This has been the case all season and despite this Hunter and Fagg are confident they can compete with their rivals.

“Yes we have a slight power disadvantage to Callum and more so to the Stephen, Connor and Peter but if we can keep a strong pace we should be able to put a challenge to the guys” commented Burgerman Catering backed Rob, “The R5 is a good car and the Dom Buckley RSC team ensure we have the best at our disposal, so we just need to make sure we stay out of trouble and do our best – we can’t do more than that.”

The event is also a round of the British Rally Championship, so a top line entry is in place, and Hugh and Rob will need to concentrate on their main title opposition, as they will be running in amongst the leading British crews.

Eight stages lie in wait, covering 45 miles, on some of the forest tracks made famous by Wales RallyGB such as Halfway and Crychan. There is only one service halt during the day back in Builth at lunchtime, so any mistakes could prove costly.

Rob is supported in 2017 by Robert Graham & Co Chartered Quantity Surveyors, JR Hinchliffe Plumbing and Heating, Burger Man Catering, MC Locksmiths and Organic Construction Solutions.