images from yesterday’s BRC Winter Rally, courtesy Neil Barnard/Barbados Rally Club, With local co-driver Sean Gill, Britain’s Rob Swann won the BRC Winter Rally in his Ford Fiesta WRC, their second win together

Britain’s Rob Swann claims second island victory in BRC Winter Rally

Neil Corbin is the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Champion Driver elect, following last Sunday’s (December 6) delayed final round, the BRC Winter Rally. Victory in his SuperModified 1 Toyota Starlet with co-driver Matthew Staffner maintained their 100 per cent win rate in the 2020 Driver’s and Class Championships and earned the crew their second overall championship, adding to that won in 2012 from Modified 6.
  Britain’s Rob Swann won the Winter Rally in his Ford Fiesta WRC in a total elapsed time of 16m 41.09s, his second victory with former BRC Champion Sean Gill as co-driver; they previously won the Sunoco Shakedown Stages in 2016 in Swann’s Subaru Impreza WRC S12B. Sunday’s win confirmed Swann as provisional 4wd and WRC Champion, beating Jamaica’s Jeff Panton to both titles; with Bajan Jason Cozier on the notes, Panton finished second on Sunday, just under 6secs behind in his Fiesta, with FIA R5 class-winners Stuart and Justin Maloney (Skoda Fabia) third, another 10secs adrift.
  Swann said: “Finally everything came together. I knew I had the pace, but still had to put it together to get the win. Normally the race-track bits aren't my thing, but we got a good lead in the morning and managed it for the afternoon. Big thanks to my wife Marie, as we would've celebrated 22 years of marriage on Saturday and we have never spent an anniversary apart!” Panton added: “Rob drove brilliantly and it took a long time to get close to his times with some aggressive driving; kudos to him as he was the better driver today. I still don't feel as confident at high-speed as I should, so some testing next year will be important to find the right setup.”
  Barry Mayers and Ben Norris (SuperModified 2 Ford Fiesta) placed sixth overall and top 2wd in Sunday’s eight-stage event, but Andrew Jones and Lindsey Pilkington are provisional 2wd and SM2 Champions in their Ford Escort MkII. While Mayers said he was pleased with the win “given the disappointment of Sol Rally Barbados”, Jones was equally happy after a battle with Josh Read’s Toyota Starlet: “The main focus was the 2wd championship and we were able to maintain a good margin on that. Today we planned to make it to the end in a decent position so it being a high-scoring event I had to be quick but careful.”
  While the Maloneys topped the R5 times on all eight stages in the final round – they even split Swann and Panton in their Fiesta WRCs twice on the new 3.2-kilometre Stewart’s Hill to Society stage - Roger Hill and Graham Gittens have tied up the R5 class title in their Fabia. They finished fourth on Sunday, 6secs behind Maloney and just 1sec ahead of Andrew Mallalieu and Geoff Goddard in their Fiesta after an event-long tussle.
  Corbin’s second Champion Driver title also adds a sixth Class Championship to his cv, all achieved in the Starlet, which has been steadily developed over the years; he dominated M6 on his way to the 2012 title, then won the class again twice in the next three years and again in 2016, the first year it was renamed M1. Since a successful move to SM1, and another class crown in 2017, Corbin has had a couple of lean years: “It's been a long time since being in contention for the championship and they are hard to win. This year has been challenging for many persons and at one point I wasn't going to drive, but when things opened up, I found some motivation. I didn't have a highly competitive group this season, but a consistent year of fun and entertainment was welcome, so a championship is icing on the cake.”
  Of the class battles left to resolve, that in Modified 3, where the BMW M3s of Ahmed Esuf and David St Hill were tied for the lead before the weekend, failed to materialize. St Hill’s car developed engine problems after SS1, on which he had been just two-tenths quicker than Kurt Thompson (M3 Compact), with Esuf 5secs adrift. Thompson went on to win every stage, while Esuf lived up to his growing reputation as a crowd-pleaser. Esuf’s participation in the event was tribute to an all-nighter worked by his crew after he left the road during Saturday’s Motoring Club of Barbados (MCBI) event, seriously damaging the rear of the car. That he is now the Modified 3 Champion-elect at the end of his debut season is just reward for his and his team’s efforts.
  It was also close in Clubman 2, where Jason Downey could maintain his advantage over early-season pace-setter Stuart Garcia by finishing second, even if the former class champion were to win. With ever-increasing seat time boosting her confidence, however, Natya Soodeen was fastest in the battle of the BimmaCup cars on the first stage, although Garcia moved ahead on SS2 to claim a class lead he was not to lose. Soodeen was ahead of Downey after the morning stages, but he punched in a time nearly 3secs quicker on the first reversed stage after lunch to move up to second and go on to claim the title. Having clouted the Vaucluse Raceway chicane hard in the previous weekend’s BimmaCup final, Downey’s car had required a major front-end rebuild, so the provisional C2 Champion was a happy man: “Natya jumped us all by winning SS1, then I had a big spin on the new stage and lost a lot of time. I thought it was all over, until I saw the times at the end of lunch. From then, co-driver Kristina kept my head in the game.”

BRC Winter Rally - Sunday, December 6
BRC Driver’s & Class Championships, round 6
Official results:

1st Rob Swann – ENG/Sean Gill (WRC Blue Sky Luxury/Elegant Hotels/ Ford Fiesta WRC), 16m 41.09s
2nd Jeffrey Panton – JAM/Jason Cozier (WRC Rubis/Sandals/KIG Ford Fiesta WRC), + 05.40s
3rd Stuart Maloney/Justin Maloney (FIA R5 VP Fuels/Chevron/Bushy Park Barbados/Rock Hard Cement/Sign station Skoda Fabia R5), + 15.49s
4th Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (FIA R5 Esso/MaxMeyer Paints/Motormac/DJ’s Skoda Fabia R5), + 32.13s
5th Andrew Mallalieu/Geoff Goddard (FIA R5 Terra Caribbean Ford Fiesta R5), + 33.44s
6th Barry Mayers/Ben Norris - ENG (SM2 Chefette/Rubis/Quality Tyre/Sign Depot Ford Fiesta), + 42.30s
7th Paul Horton - TCI/Matt Edwards - WAL (FIA R5 Java Island/HO2 Construction/Sky Motorsports Ford Fiesta R5), + 45.68s
8th Suleman Esuf/Asif Suleman (FIA R5 Express Imports/SY Adam & Son/Prosales/Y Esuf Auto Clinic Ford Fiesta R5), + 51.46s
9th Andrew Jones/Lindsey Pilkington (F) – ENG (SM2 Herr’s Chips/Gales Agro/Southern Surf Beach Apartments/AP Jones Pharmacy Ford Escort MkII), + 1m 10.70s
10th Josh Read/Anderson Goddard (SM2 Weetabix Toyota Starlet), + 1m 15.90s
WRC: 1st Swann – ENG/Gill, 16m 41.09s; 2nd Panton – JAM/Cozier, + 05.40s
FIA R5: 1st S Maloney/Maloney, 16m 56.58s; 2nd Hill/Gittens, + 16.64s; 3rd Mallalieu/G Goddard, + 17.95s; etc
Modified 4: 1st Avinash Chatrani/Andrew Skeete (Lenovo/Axe Solutions/Gunk/iShop Barbados/Sign Station /Genius Lynk Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI), 18m 25.50s – 12th overall
SuperModified 2: 1st Mayers/Norris – ENG, 17m 23.39s; 2nd Jones/Pilkington – ENG, + 28.40s; 3rd Read/A Goddard, + 33.60s; etc
SM1: 1st Neil Corbin/Matthew Staffner (Nassco/H Jason Jones/Emtage Electric/Auto Solutions/Valvoline Toyota Starlet), 18m 10.13s – 11th o/a; 2nd Ryan O Wood/Ria Walcott (F) (MB Auto City/BizNeedz Racing/Lucas Oil/Shonny’s Kitchen Toyota Starlet), + 2m 20.23s; 3rd Kevin Wiggins/Keenan Barker (Johnson Auto/Zak Auto Parts Toyota Starlet), + 5m 34.46s
Modified 3: 1st Kurt Thompson/Adam Straker (Glassesco/NKM Clothing/Bio-Beauty/King Ocean Shipping BMW M3 Compact), 18m 53.04s – 15th o/a; 2nd Ahmed Esuf/Bibi Suleman (F) (Express Imports Inc/Y Esuf Auto Clinic/Prosales/Premier Diamonds BMW M3), + 1m 45.99s
M2: 1st Jamal Brathwaite/Dwayne Forde (Java Island/Consumers Guaranteed Insurance/Automotive Art/Valvoline/Caribbean Auto Glass/809 Design Associates /TEC Barbados/Stylez Auto Spa/Ellsemere Quarries/Chicken Pen Racing Honda Civic Type-R), 18m 44.17s – 14th o/a
M1: 1st Edward Corbin/Jonathan Alleyne (Automotive Art/Hilti/Cargo BGI Daihatsu Charmant), 19m 20.12s - 17th o/a; 2nd Jermin Pope/Aaron Kirton (Glassesco/NKM Clothing Honda Civic), + 33.79s; 3rd Pierre Clarke/Kareem Gaskin (SDRR Hydraulics & Industrial Spares Honda Civic), + 1m 32.70s
Historic 2: no finishers
Clubman 2: 1st Stuart Garcia/Rasheed Smith (Kirba Inc/Smith’s Engineering Works/GuavaTech BimmaCup), 20m 40.28s – 21st o/a; 2nd Jason Downey/Kristina Pinto (F) (BimmaCup), + 32.67s; 3rd Natya Soodeen (F)/Justin Sisnett (BimmaCup), + 35.70s
C1: no finishers

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