Uptick in international media coverage for Sol RB23

The ‘voice of the World Rally Championship’ Becs Williams will return to Sol Rally Barbados this year. Among those she will interview is Hayden Paddon (pictured with Williams in Europe), who won the opening round of the TER World Series, of which Sol RB23 is a round, bringing additional media coverage for the event and the island

There will be a major uptick in worldwide media coverage for Sol Rally Barbados (June 9-11) and its ‘Motorsport Island’ home this year, as a combination of factors converge to further consolidate the event’s already robust international reputation. It has been included on the calendar of the TER World Series, a new-for-2023 extension of the Tour European Rally Series, whose promoters blend sports reporting with coverage of each rally location’s tourism sector in global broadcast and online coverage.
  TER Series Ambassador and 2022 Champion New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon, who is making his Caribbean debut this year, has already won this year’s opening round, the Otago Rally, in his home country with co-driver and fellow Kiwi John Kennard. Paddon’s entry for Sol RB23, along with confirmation last week that ‘The Boy from Barbados’ 2022 FIA Rookie of the Year Zane Maloney will compete against him in the FIA R5 class, has opened up a wide range of new outlets, particularly on social media.
  Sol RB23, the 33rd running of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) premier event, will start with a floodlit SuperSpecial at Bushy Park Barbados on Friday, June 9, with two days of action in the northern and eastern parishes culminating in a daylight SuperSpecial and Rally Finish back at the St Philip facility on Sunday. The Rally Show and First Citizens King of the Hill will be staged on the previous weekend, June 3 & 4.
  In addition to the Otago Rally and Sol RB23, the other events in the first year of the fledgling TER W Series are Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur in France, which was won last weekend (May 18-20) for the second year in a row by France’s Yoann Bonato, and Rally Terra Sarda in Sardinia (October 6-8). All the events were selected because they run in major tourist destinations, which then benefit from TER’s television programming, which reaches around 21 million homes in 100-plus countries worldwide.
  Apart from being very active on his own social media platforms, Hyundai NZ driver Paddon is attracting considerable media interest for his success this year, leading rally championships in two different hemispheres on either side of the globe: after two rounds, he is leading the NZ Rally Championship, which he has won six times in the past, also the European Rally Championship, his punishing schedule of flights from New Zealand to Europe and back highlighted last week by the on-line rally resource Dirtfish, which gave extensive coverage to Sol RB22. Second place in Poland last weekend (May 20-21) allowed him to extend his lead in the ERC to 37 points over joint second-placed Norwegian Mads Ostberg and Latvia’s Martins Sesks.
  The appointment of double Rally Barbados winning co-driver (with Kris Meeke) Paul Nagle as a Safety Advisor to Sol RB23 has already attracted increased coverage in Ireland, enhanced by the participation of former British Rallycross Champion Ollie O’Donovan, who is Paddon’s team-mate at Albatec Racing for the events in Barbados. The UK’s weekly magazine and on-line resource Autosport will also be covering the event in greater depth, with News Editor Tom Holland flying in to report, while the ‘voice of the World Rally Championship’ Becs Williams will be returning to the island to work with the Barbados Rally Club and Rally Barbados organisers to host and develop video content.
  Rally Director Neil Barnard said: “We’ve had an excellent response from local and international media again this year. Of particular interest is the media team coming here from the TER W Series who will be on island for Rally Show, First Citizens King of the Hill and Sol Rally Barbados. While the Club’s own media team has been leading the charge in terms of contacting and attracting international media, it’s the incredible support of the BTMI and the Tourism Development Corporation that enables us to actually make it a reality.”
  And the media coverage is already translating into increased interest in ‘Motorsport Island’. Answering a question from the floor during last Wednesday’s (May 17) Sol RB23 Media Briefing at Bushy Park Barbados, Chairman of Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) Shelly Williams said: “Interest has been very high. Sol Rally Barbados continues to be regarded as one of the best motorsport events in the region. We are getting inquiries coming in from the UK especially and from our regional markets as well. This is a big event for the BTMI and it is a big event for Barbados as a whole. It really showcases the island through one of the largest spectator events there is with local, regional and international people taking part, so we actually look forward to sponsoring this event. It is almost 10 years that we have been partners with this event and we intend to see it grow.”

Sol Rally Barbados (June 9-11) is a tarmac rally, with 20 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport, Works & Water Resources; First Citizens King of the Hill (June 4) runs under a similar arrangement and features four timed runs on a four-kilometre stage, the results of which are used to seed the running order for Sol RB23.

For media information only. No regulatory value.

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