This is a blog post
. To read the original post, please click here »Powell shows them the way!
After a successful scrutineering session at Mosportt Restaurant & Grill last Wednesday, fans began pouring into the Hasely Crawford Stadium as early as three o’clock in anticipation of the first two stages of Rally Trinidad 2015. Despite the start of SS1 and SS2 being more than three hours apart – keep track of the Stages Directory on rallytrinidad.com - there was plenty to keep the fans interested, the venue bristling with activity as teams put the final touches to their cars, sponsor decals, competition wheels and tyres.
TTDA ripped the stages wide open with a sensational display of precision driving. Four of the club’s top competitors– Kerry Phillip (DWO), Roger Hutcheon, Devon Bartholemew and Imran Khan took to the stages leaving large double black lines for the rallycars to follow and passing within millimetres of the concrete planters. Then they returned to the course in tandem formation, two at a time, ending with a tandem park and a long double burnout.
Kristian ‘BoodooStig’ Boodoosingh brought his ex-Daniel Ramoutarsingh Evo VI (aka Natasha) to play and function as car ‘0’ for the stadium stages. His car exhibited nearly zero body roll and traction was hard to come by but he easily drifted around the triangular roundabout and 180-degree turns. “I have near-zero traction out there, the handbrake lever is definitely my friend. The car isn’t set up for this surface but I am having so much fun”
said an excited BoodooStig before the start of his second run.
The field ran in reverse order, to build the hype towards the fastest competitors, so SS1 action starred with the Lifestyle Motors Suzuki Swift, normally driven by Ryan Peyrau. As he is contesting the opening round of the Suzuki Challenge Series in Barbados this weekend, his co-driver Simon Rodriguez took the wheel.
Once the dust had settled, four-time winner of the country’s premier event, John ‘Penti’ Powell had made his intentions known early. With Nick Telfer in his Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, he was fastest on both stages, opening up a 2.12-second lead over Group A front-runner David Coelho, and nearly 5secs over his closest Group N rival, Stuart Johnson.
Coelho and Harris (Evo IX) were fifth and second Friday night, starting Saturday morning just 0.12s ahead of James Betts/Sean Abed (Evo VIII) – fourth and third – with Cristian Bourne/Jesu de Gannes (Evo VIII) only one-hundredth of a second behind, lucky to have moved a plastic barrier without damage. Having been second on the first run, Johnson and Lee Quesnell (Subaru Impreza N12) slipped to sixth on the repeat.
In the two-wheel-drive classes, honours were shared among the overseas crews – Ireland’s Frank Kelly, now sporting Kendall Oil sponsorship, and Paul Fitzgerald in their Ford Escort MkIIs were the top two on SS1, split by just one-tenth, with fellow-Irishman Shane McGirr coming to the fore on SS2 in his Toyota Starlet, with Stuart McChlery of Barbados second in his Lenovo-liveried Escort MkI, 2.7secs adrift.
The teams were all optimistic, even the tumbling pair of Scott Sheppard and Anand Awai, who rolled their Ford Escort MkII some seven times at the last event (Rally Shakedown). Ansel’s Ali’s local rotary-powered Mazda 323 also managed to swing from corner to corner in well-sorted fashion.
The stadium stages are good for a confidence boost, but the real business starts today, once this healthy field of rally cars leaves the Service Park at Tarouba Stadium and gets to stretch their legs on the fast flowing stages at Reform (8kms, run six times) and Bronte (two at 11.4kms, two at 11.3kms).
Friday night’s dramas were limited, although Gobin Mahadeo (Impreza) had engine problems, James Harris had cradle damage on his Rover 200, while both Ryan Pinheiro (Evo IV) and Ishmael Khan (Starlet) incurred 15secs penalties for missing out part of SS1. Coelho’s Evo IX sustained possible gearbox and minor suspension damage at the finish of SS2, so the service crew faced a long night.Provisional positions after SS2:
1st John Powell / Nicholas Telfer (GpN Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 2m 47.07s
2nd David Coelho / James Harris - ENG (GpA Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 2m 49.19s
3rd James Betts - BAR / Sean Abed (GpA Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII), 2m 49.31s
4th Cristian Bourne / Jesu de Gannes (GpA Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII), 2m 49.32s
5th Stuart Johnson / Lee Quesnel (GpN Subaru Impreza N12), 2m 51.95s
6th Craig Sumair / Brent Russell (GpN Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), 2m 58.53s
7th Andrew Mallalieu - BAR / Sean Gill - BAR (GpN Subaru Impreza N10), 3m 04.30s
8th Paul Fitzgerald - IRL / Josh Plaza (SM5 Ford Escort MkII), 3m 05.15s
9th Mathew Russel / Richard Russel (GpA Mitsubishi Evo III), 3m 05.90s
10th Frank Kelly - IRL / Robert Cadiz (SM6 Ford Escort MkII), 3m 07.27s
for the full gallery please check http://www.trinituner.com/v3/2015/03/27/rt15-day1/