The very idea of RACE entering the MSN Circuit Rally Championship was hatched at the Brands Hatch Winter stages on a frosty January morning in 2017 as the cars took to the stages and Ryan Connolly watched as a spectator. With the "Pooma" purchased, re engineered, re built, tested and ready to go, an entry was made for the 2018 Event. Last minute issues with a co-driver the day before the event meant that Ryan and the team did not attend. The 2019 event was not going to be missed, everything was on target for their championship lead in class to be maintained - yet ended in a early retirement and heartbreak for the team.
Despite an unusually long scrutineering session on Friday evening, all was well as the bitterly cold Saturday event began. Seeded 26th and with a brand new set of Michelin's on the car, Ryan Connolly and Chris Allen began the event with the car on its soft springs in order to maximise bringing the new tyres in and take advantage of the cold and slightly damp conditions. Not setting the best time, the crew finished SS1 10th place in class and 32nd Overall.
SS2 was still on the soft springs, tyres now scrubbed and car feeling strong, the Lincoln based pair jumped up to 7th In class and 19th Overall but now the car was too soft and giving away pace.
The RACE RallySport crew of Alex Ward and Charlie Oldman showed exactly why they're a force, changing all four of the cars springs in 30mins before the start of SS3.
Now very confident of the potential in the car and the right decision being made, Ryan and Chris really started to wind the pace into the Pooma, finishing SS3 5th In Class and 19th Overall. However, this is where the day would unfortunately end for the team, whilst making their way back to the service area, a pin in the Crankshaft Position Sensor broke off and with no spare available and no local parts factor or dealership stocking them, retirement was the only, heartbreaking option for the team. Ending their championship lead for the moment.
However - The Pooma is already in surgery and will be back fighting fit for the Snetterton Stage Rally on 16th February where RACE will certainly be coming out swinging with the sole aim of getting their championship pursuit back on track!
RACE Staff on event were:-
Ryan Connolly, Chris Allen, Alex Ward, Charlie Oldman, Rhean Peters
Allen Signs, Alcon Components, Tyre & Tech Lincoln, Longman Racing, AiM Technologies, Michelin Motorsport, Protyre Motorsport, Allen Signs
RACE would also like to thank:-
Shaun Chetwyn (Protyre Motorsport),
Darren Spann & The Staff from the MSN Circuit Rally Championship, Lags Kainth, Sam Smelt, Ollie Jackson
Steve McKenna - SMJ Photography
Jamie Peters-Ennis - JPE Images