With the Maps team Subaru fully repaired after yesterdays issues, the plan for today was simple. To climb back up the leaderboard. Today’s drier conditions made the mostly tarmac first stage around Cholmondeley castle a lot easier. With thousands of spectators watching this stage as part of the Rally fest, and live commentary of each car, this wasn’t the place to make a mistake. Despite almost clipping the front of the car at the roundabout chicane, Gavin’s greater experience on tarmac really counted with an almost unbelievable climb of 28 places on the leaderboard. After a 70 mile road section it was back into the forest, with a 6 mile blast through Pantperthog. Again the stage went well with the only moment occurring when passing the car in front. “After the good run on the first stage we really pushed in there” explains Gavin. “Catching a car in stage is a nice confidence booster so we knew were going well”.
The 13 mile Dyfi stage was next. No cars were caught on this stage but at least this meant no lost time while passing. Another 6 places made up and the smiles were now back after yesterday’s character building day. With two stages still to go, it was no time to relax, especially with the light starting to fade. Despite this, another clean run through these final stages resulted in more places gained and two more cars caught in stage. It was an almost perfect days rallying. Its often at this point that problems appear, and today was no exception. The car did not have enough fuel to cover the 40 miles back to service. With nothing on route, they headed off route in search of fuel. A garage was eventually found but they were now a long way off route and at risk of going OTL. Thanks to some ‘focused’ driving, they finally made it back to the control at Deeside with only minutes to spare.
Despite the fuel issues, it had been an excellent day. 36 miles of stages and almost 200 road miles and the car hadn’t missed a beat. 15 places had also been made up on the overall leaderboard.
Gavin: “We’ve had a few moments today but nothing that couldn’t be caught or controlled. I’ve really got to grips with the car and Mark has done an excellent job on the notes. Hopefully we can keep this going till the finish.”
Tomorrow is the final day consisting of only 16 miles of stages. Finishing should be a formality, but with rallying, nothing is easy and anything can happen. Check back tomorrow night for the final report from this years event.