The top table at this morning’s Sol Rally Barbados 2022 Media Briefing (from left): Walwyn Williams, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of First Citizens Bank Barbados, Sol RB22 Rally Director Neil Barnard and Carole Roberts, Retail Formats & Promotions Manager of Sol Barbados Ltd listening to remarks from Corey Garret, Director Caribbean & Latin America, Sports, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc

FIA F3 racer Zane Maloney joins 90-strong entry

Sol Rally Barbados is back! Postponed from 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) blue riband event was relaunched today (Wednesday). Headlines at a Media Briefing at Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Christ Church, included a major rethink of the route, longer stages, the return of rallying at night, a raft of new marketing partnerships and a record entry in the growing FIA R5 class, including teenage FIA F3 racer Zane Maloney.
  As the Rally Club celebrates its 65th Anniversary, the key dates for the 32nd running of the region’s biggest motor sport international are Sol Rally Barbados over the weekend of June 4 & 5, with The Rally Show and First Citizens King of the Hill the previous weekend (May 28/29).
  Before a comprehensive overview of the thinking behind the BRC’s approach to this year’s events, Sol RB22 Rally Director Neil Barnard welcomed and thanked the Club’s title sponsors, The Sol Group and First Citizens, and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) for their support. Alongside Barnard on the top table were Carole Roberts, Retail Formats & Promotions Manager of Sol Barbados, Walwyn Williams, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of First Citizens Bank Barbados and Corey Garret, Director Caribbean & Latin America, Sports, BTMI.
  Confirming a provisional entry list of 90 crews, Barnard said: “I’m not sure where to start with our news this morning. Against the background of everyone recovering from the pandemic at home and overseas, I admit the entry is bigger than I had anticipated, which speaks volumes for the image our event has generated over the years.
  “Our planning for 2022 started two years ago and was predicated on the pandemic and the protocols we might have had to follow, with the safety of everyone involved at the root of all our decisions. And that has been a positive. A thorough look at everything we do resulted in many changes – reducing the number of stage venues to three and using them on both days results in more efficient use of our volunteers, and makes the control of spectator areas easier, but without reducing the challenge for our competitors.”
  Banks Dark Hole is the shortest stage at 5.6 kilometres – that was the longest distance only a couple of years ago – and Automotive Art Kendal the longest at 7.8km. Sol RB22’s 18 closed road stages have an average distance of 6.7 kilometres, significantly longer than any in recent times. And the total stage distance of 124.20kms is also longer than the average total for the past 10 years.
  Bushy Park Barbados will play a key role, bringing Sol RB22 to a floodlit climax at the K&N/Denso Racing SuperSpecial under the facility’s all-arena lighting on Sunday evening. It will also host The Rally Show (May 28) for the first time, in addition to Rally Central, home to many of the overseas crews, the Rally Office, which is the event’s administrative hub, Scrutineering, and pre-event track testing sessions.
  First Citizens is the new sponsor of King of the Hill, the sprint event used since 2008 to seed the running order for Sol Rally Barbados, which will run on a new 4.5-kilometre course from Content via Fortress Hill and Dukes to finish at the Vaucluse Raceway in St Thomas. The First Citizens Group is already sponsor of the Barbados Motoring Federation’s (BMF) R5 Rally Championship, of which KotH will be the sixth round.

FIA F3 racer Zane Maloney joins 90-strong entry

Confirmed today (Wednesday), entries for FIA F3 racer Zane Maloney in a Skoda Fabia and multiple Rally Club class Champion Josh Read in a Ford Fiesta bring the number of cars in the FIA R5 class to a record 14, significant growth from three in 2019, then seven the following year, when America’s Ken Block won Sol RB20 in a Fiesta Rally2. In addition, Britain’s Rob Swann has revealed he will drive the Subaru Impreza WRC S12B in which he has twice finished on the podium in a bid to win the event on his 14th visit, which raises the total 4wd entry to 26, only two short of the Sol RB15 record.
  Barnard added: “But we don’t just have the huge R5 entry to talk about, or the likely battle for overall places, there are other robust classes which are going to generate some fantastic competition. The 2wd fight is as open as it has been for years, and the only previous winners entered are Andrew Jones and Ian Warren, those BimmaCup cars will all be fighting tooth and nail for every position and Modified 3 is looking hot, too. There’s going to be a lot for our fans to enjoy.”
  The overseas entry is spread right through the field, local drivers facing regional or international competition - sometimes both – in all but two of the classes; in addition to the regional cars already based in the island, more than 20 were unloaded at the Bridgetown Port yesterday (Tuesday) from the Geest Line freighter Luzon Straight, which left the British south coast port of Portsmouth last Sunday (May 1). Including the host nation, the entry lists includes participants from 11 countries, with 68 overseas drivers or co-drivers, 13 new to the event; there is a near record number of female competitors (21) and cars from 16 manufacturers, BMW best-represented with 26, followed by Ford (25), Toyota (9) and Honda (8).

Sol Rally Barbados (June 4/5) and First Citizens King of the Hill (May 29) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrates its 65th Anniversary in 2022; Sol RB22 marks the 15th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

For media information only. No regulatory value.

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