24 SEPTEMBER 28 2011 motorsport-news.co.uk
BRC:TRACKROD RALLY YORKSHIRE
James Attwood watches Scotland’s new rally hero become British champion avid Bogie didn’t want to go to the Isle of Man in October. And the Scottish driver knew hewouldn’t have to if he wrapped up the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship onwhat should have been the penultimate round of the series last weekend.
Bogie’s plan was simple: head to Trackrod Rally Yorkshire and push to get the result he needed to win the title. Then he could sit out the Manx and save the budget for a crack at Rally of Scotland.
EVANS CAN’T DENY BOGIE D
TRACKROD RALLY ESSENTIALS
Date:Sept 24 Base: Scarborough, Yorkshire Weather: Surprisingly warm Distance: 196.73 miles (114.90 miles liaison, 81.83 miles competitive)
Then things got complicated. The cancellation of Rally Isle of Man last Thursday (see Rally News) meant the Trackrod suddenly became the final round of the BRC, changing the game in terms of the championship fight. Before the Manx was axed, Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae needed to finish in the top five and within reach of rivals Elfyn Evans and Jonny Greer to win the crown. But with the event gone, all he needed to do was finish 13th in Yorkshire. Pressure off, surely? Er, no.
“Now I only have one chance,” said Bogie before the start. “I can’t afford to retire, or I lose the title. Before I had a cushion.” As a timely reminder, Bogie did a brief test the week before the rally to run in a new turbo. The part broke after 15 miles.
It was time to forget aiming for the win. Bogie beefed up his Mitsubishi Lancer E9, switched to a less aggressive engine map, added a second spare tyre and stuck a massive tool kit in the back of the car. So while Evans and navigator Andrew Edwards stormed to their second BRC event win of the season, Bogie spent the most nerve-wracking day of his life staying out of trouble to finish in third place – and secure Britain’s most prestigious rally title. Any thought Bogie might have had of challenging for the win were put out of his mind on the opening stage, a daunting 14.14-mile run through Dalby. While the rally was held in surprisingly warm weather, Dalby was full of muddy and slippery patches. Judging grip into corners was a challenge for every crew, but with a British title on the line it was particularly scary for Bogie.
“There were a few really slippery bits, and I had a few slides,” said Bogie. “It knocks the confidence, so I took the pace back a bit. I was trying to brake early, and not use the whole road on the exit of the corners.”
Evans didn’t have that luxury. The
McCormack took Formula Two crown
Welshman knew that to win the title he basically had to win the rally and hope Bogie hit trouble. So hewent for it –with style. The TEGSport Subaru Impreza driver was 12.9 seconds quicker than Greer through the opener, and a full 25.4s faster than Bogie.
“The conditions were very difficult,” he said. “It was hard to get the car stopped. Then at some points I couldn’t get the car turned into the corner, and then had oversteer out of the corner.”
The event was Greer’s first gravel rally since he’d upgraded his Skoda Fabia S2000 to the wide-track E2 spec, and he felt it was like learning a new car. “It made the first test a rude awakening,” he said. “I had one massive momentwhen I caught somemud in a fifth-gear corner.”
Conditions were far more consistent on the next tests, two 5.30-mile runs through Gale Rigg and an 8.18-mile stage in Cropton. Evans was fastest again on stage
It was a temporary blip. Evans went quickest again on Langdale, going 8.4 seconds faster than Greer to restore his lead to 18 seconds. Greer was powerless to respond, because he spent much of the high-speed test on the rev limiter of his Fabia – and the S2000 machine has a lower top speed than its Group N rivals.
Peter Taylor impressed in his Clio R3
two, albeit this time by just one second from Greer and 2.5s from Bogie. Greer then hit back with the quickest time on the second Gale Rigg run, trimming Evans’s lead by 1.6 seconds. But Evans responded in Cropton, with another fastest time to build his lead over Greer to 16.7 seconds heading into service. What about Bogie? Well, he was now 45.6 seconds adrift of Evans and trying to hold his composure. “It’s mentally tough trying not to push too hard,” he said. “But if I go at ten-tenths I risk a problem, so I’ve got to come back to eight-tenths.”
Bogie’s nerves probably weren’t helped by his dad John, who cheekily added to the pressure at service by saying: “If he messes this up, he’s going to lose his company car, his job, his digs – everything.” We think hewas joking… While Bogie continued his serene tour of the Yorkshire countryside on stage five, Staindale, the battle for the lead suddenly tightened upwhen Evans had a brief spin, allowing Greer to pull back eight seconds.
“The car pushed loose under turn-in for a corner,” said Evans. “I tried to correct it, but the back came round too fast, and the power kicked in too slowly.”
The final loop featured repeat runs through Dalby, Staindale and Langdale. The grip levels in Dalby were still inconsistent, but Greer powered through it to set fastest time and trim one second from Evans’s lead. But Evans hit back in Staindale, going 0.8 seconds faster than Greer. That left Greer 17.8 seconds to make up in 11.38 miles. Realising that wasn’t going to happen, he backed off.
“Once the stages dried out, it was a lot better,” said Greer. “But it was tough in the morning, because I was adjusting to the car and trying to judge the grip.”
Evans added 10.5 seconds to his lead in the final test to seal his second BRCwin in style. Not that he was celebrating much.
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“This is the worst win ever,” he joked at the finish. That’s because, while Evans won the rally, it was the manwho finished third that won the title. Bogie stuck to his game plan in the afternoon, and while he finished nearly two minutes behind Evans, it meant the champion’s trophy was his.
game his to stuck Bogie title.
and afternoon, the in plan two nearly finished he while it Evans, behind minutes champion’s the meant unbelievable,”
“It’s just unbelievable,” said Bogie. “It was the hardest rally of my life. On the final stage I had to wind my of rally hardest said wind to had I stage
Bogie is first Scots champ since 1995
Elfyn Evans’s flat-out win wasn’t enough for the title the window down because I was feeling sick. It’s unreal.”
Event winner Evans was gracious at missing out on the title. He said: “We came here to do a job. That was to win the rally, and we did that. But David did the job he needed to do today. He’s put in a strong performance all year. Wehad a bit of bad luck mid-season, and we knew coming here it would be an uphill struggle.” His TEGSport team could still celebrate at the finish, though, having finally claimed its first Trackrod Rally win. Aside from the top three, James Grint was the only other four-wheel-drive competitor on the rally, but he rolled his Mitsubishi Lancer E9 on the first stage.
Bogie wasn’t the only driver to end the rally a champion. Martin McCormack sealed the BRC Formula Twocrownwith a flourish, taking his fourth maximumF2 points haul from five events.
The Citroën DS3 R3 driver started the rally in a similar position to Bogie, knowing that a steady finish would seal the crown. Andhe also got a rude awakening on the opening test.
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driven,” he said. “At the first braking point of the stage I locked up and of point braking first and up locked I stage the at on straight went
I Then chicane. a the exactly did the on thing same it.” with
I corner. second went straight on at a chicane. Then I did exactly the same thing on the second corner. I was lucky I got away with it.” While McCormack struggled, Peter Taylor pounced. The Renault Clio R3 driver had a away got I lucky was
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Renault The pounced.
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