Mixed fortunes for International crews preparing for the Caribbean
International crews separated by nearly 5,000 miles have met with mixed fortunes over the past week as they prepare for Sol Rally Barbados 2012. Under the good news heading, island regulars Steve Perez and Paul Spooner finished fourth on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland National Rally in the Kick Energy Ford Focus WRC07 that will be shipped to the Caribbean in a few weeks’ time.
After a spin on the Friday night Titanic SuperSpecial stage in the Belfast shipyards where the doomed liner was built, Perez started the rally’s closed-road tarmac stages in 69th place, but climbed back up the order to battle with previous ‘Circuit’ winner Derek McGarrity (MINI WRC). Perez said: “It was good to be challenging the locals for a place on the podium, so it has all been very positive.”
On the other side of the world in Dubai, everything turned very negative for Welsh brothers Gareth and Lloyd Bettinson, who had built a pair of cars specifically to compete in Sol RB12. Having entered on-line in early October – the first newcomers to express their interest – they had worked tirelessly on their Ford Escort MkII and Renault Clio, both finished a few days before Easter.
Their deadline had been an Easter Sunday sailing from Jebel Ali, a port just south of Dubai, on a freighter that would have delivered their cars direct to the Bridgetown Port in Barbados after 40 days at sea . . . but the voyage was cancelled. Gareth said: “We are both extremely disappointed; we have explored every possible avenue of getting the cars to Barbados and it just isn’t going to happen. We will definitely be there in 2013.”
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.