CLARKE AND CORBIN THE EARLY PACE-SETTERS
As competitors in the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) Virgin Atlantic Driverâ€™s and Class Championships prepare for the upcoming Valvoline Shakedown Stages â€“ round three of 10 in this yearâ€™s series, to be run on Sunday, May 6 â€“ Daryl Clarke and Neil Corbin are the early pace-setters in the Driverâ€™s title chase, with Sean Gill and Ian Warren leading the four-wheel-drive and two-wheel-drive standings respectively.
Clarke and Corbin were the only two drivers to win fully-subscribed classes in both parts of the Spring Blaze double-header in March, a event shared with the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc, which opened the BRC points-scoring season. Three starters make up a class, below which reduced points are awarded.
Clarke (Honda Civic) dominated Modified 7, the best-supported class of the day, with eight starters: he finished 11th overall on the first run, with Group N cars ahead of, and just behind, him, and 15th overall on the reverse run. Although there was less competition in merged M6 and M5, Corbin nevertheless put in an all-out effort in his Toyota Starlet, beating the class opposition by more than three seconds each time.
Allan Maynard (SuperModified 9 Toyota Starlet) and Jeremy Croney (Clubman Peugeot 206 GTi) also won their classes in both directions, against limited competition, while Warren (Suzuki Swift) was alone in SM10, which hurt his class points total even more. There was better news for him in the 2wd Championship, however, as two top five finishes overall placed him comfortably ahead of the opposition.
His closest challengers in the 2wd standings are Stuart Maloney (Peugeot 306 Maxi) and Logan Watson (BMW M3), who shared the wins in March in SM11, another well-supported class â€“ there were five points-scorers – and one which promises to be extremely hotly-contested during 2012.
In the 4wd Championship, Gill (Suzuki SX4 WRC) enjoyed a healthy start to the season â€“ he was second to Paul Bourne (Ford Focus WRC06) in the first part of the double-header, then won the second, ahead of Roger Skeete (Subaru Impreza WRC S12) and Bourne. Those results gave him a two-point advantage over Bourne . . . but there is a long way to go.
Graeme Finlayson (M8-A Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III) was another to enjoy back-to-back wins, but in a class that was not fully-subscribed, which places him equal fifth in the 4wd standings with Geoff Noel (Evo IX); the reigning Driverâ€™s Champion had claimed maximum points in Production 4 in the first half, but was cut back by two points in the second part, despite winning again, when Mark Hamilton (Evo IX) was a non-starter.