Character-building weekend for Barbados crews in Rally Trinidad
After leading all three four-wheel-drive classes in the early stages of Rally Trinidad last weekend (March 30-April 1), Barbados Rally Club (BRC) members endured a series of character-building disappointments, none more so than Sean Gill and Michael Cummins (Suzuki SX4 WRC), who rolled into retirement, having led much of the event.
With six wins on the 11 stages on Friday and Saturday, Gill carried a comfortable lead into Sunday, although re-seeding put him first on the road, ‘sweeping’ the gravel stages a costly disadvantage. On home ground, John Powell/Nicholas Telfer (Subaru Impreza WRC S14) assumed the lead on stage 17. With four stages to go, Gill rolled – both he and Cummins were uninjured – promoting Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton/Mike Fennell Jnr (Ford Focus WRC06) and Gary Gregg/Hugh Hutchinson (Focus WRC05) to the podium.
After Gill’s accident, Powell said: “Sean is the kind of driver that rarely puts a wheel wrong, but this goes to show the level of commitment that each of the top drivers have to display now in order to win. He is a tough competitor and a true sportsman.”
In Group A, early leaders James Betts/Geoff Goddard of Barbados (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V) retired late on Saturday with a combination of mechanical issues, while Trevor Manning and Derek Edwards, who had led Group N in Powell’s generously-loaned Evo X, were unable to rejoin after an ‘off’.
Sol Rally Barbados and Shell V-Power King of the Hill are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB12 is the 23rd running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the fifth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.