Latest News  Fagg begins BTRDA Rally title tilt in Wales

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


The Fiesta WRC in its new livery for 2018 ready for Hugh and Rob

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Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Mel Evans Motorsport (http://melvynevansmotorsport.com/)
 

Isle of Man co-driver Rob Fagg gets his 2018 rally season underway on this weekend’s Cambrian Rally in North Wales with unfinished business in the BTRDA Championship.

Fagg and Ruthin driver Hugh Hunter led the series through the early rounds of last year’s campaign but were undone by mechanical issues and efforts to take the challenge to higher specification world rally cars in their Ford Fiesta R5.

As a result, they switched to a Ford Fiesta WRC for the final two rounds, and now return to the series hopeful of a year-long title push.

“Hugh and I are certainly starting the season with the plan to fight for the title this year. Last year we showed good pace but just didn’t have it in the R5 against the WRC cars around us” explained Rob, “Using the Fiesta WRC from Mel Evans Motorsport on the final two rounds definitely gave us something to think about over the winter, especially after the early Trackrod pace, and it’s great to be back in the car for 2018.” 

The car has undergone a full overhaul during the Winter with the team at Mel Evans Motorsport to ensure that it is fit and ready for the battle ahead. On Monday it received the final touches as its colour scheme for the year was applied.

The 2018 Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Championship takes place over eight events across England and Wales between this weekend and the end of September.

This Saturday though all roads lead to Llandudno for a day of competition in the famous North Wales forests, but for Kirk Michael resident Fagg the event starts much earlier.

“The early part of the week has been about pulling together all the information for the event and building the schedule for the team, ensuring they have all they require on the build-up and during” commented Rob, “I leave the island on Wednesday and between then and the rally start I shall be working on the Pace Notes with Hugh and we also have an opportunity to test the car on Thursday which is a chance to re-familiarise ourselves with the car.”

The 113-strong entry list suggests a real battle for the top places, packed with most of the top names in British national rallying, all eager to get the year started. Heading the field away are 2017 Champions Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson followed by 2016 Welsh Champion Luke Francis both in Fiesta WRC’s. Paul Bird (2016 runner up) heads away at number 3 in his Focus WRC with British Rally Championship and M-Sport works driver Matt Edwards next in an R5 variant of the Fiesta while rounding out the top 5 is another former champion Charlie Payne in yet another Fiesta WRC. Hunter and Fagg start at number 6.

Last year’s event was scrapped due to ice and snow meaning that marshals and rescue cover could not be guaranteed and given the recent wintry weather Rob and Hugh need to be prepared for anything.  

“I think everyone is hoping that there is not a repeat of the conditions the event experienced last year. The weather is looking good for Saturday although it will start cold and a chance of rain, so we need to have a think about tyres” commented Rob. “Any snow or ice and the event become a lottery, we’re not permitted to use studded tyres in the UK so it’s a case of making the best with what you have, we don’t plan for snow rallies.”

The Cambrian Rally begins at 8am from the Promenade in Llandudno and tackles 45 stage miles over 7 stages before a 3:30pm finish back in the host town.

Hugh and Rob can be followed at http://www.btrdarallyresults.co.uk/results/ with live results updates throughout the day.

Rob is supported in 2018 by Robert Graham & Co Chartered Quantity Surveyors, MC Locksmiths, JR Hinchliffe Plumbing & Heating and Burger Man Catering.