Castrol/Evening Standard start campaign.

at Trackrod Rally

Evening Standard Journalist to take on Jardine challenge of becoming WRC co-driver 

Just one week on from passing his BARS exam, the first step to an International co-drivers licence, Evening Standard sports journalist David Smith will start his uphill climb to compete at World Rally Championship  (WRC)  standard. 

Smith  will  accompany  Tony  Jardine  in  the  Castrol  /  Evening Standard team’s ProSpeed run Ford Fiesta for Yorkshire’s biggest motor sport event, the Trackrod Rally, this Saturday (September 27). Smith,  from  Dunstable,  has  been  writing  for  The  Evening  Standard  for 22 years and is the latest journalist to accept Jardine’s task of gaining their international navigators licence. Journalist Smith was at Silverstone Circuit just last week having his first experience of driving a rally car and learning skills  necessary  to  compete  at  WRC  level.  He  will  now  be  expected  to  make  the  big  step  to becoming a fully competent co-driver for Jardine as they both tackle the Trackrod event.

The  experienced  writer  will  have  some  knowledge  behind  him  coming  into  the  event  as  he  has competed in a road rally previously. Smith was co-driver to the legendary late Roger Clark on the 1989 Autoglass Tour of Britain that embraced rallying and racing. However  due  to  the  fact  that  Smith’s  last  motor  sport  involvement  was  such  a  different  event  19 years  ago, Jardine has arranged a training day with top WRC navigator Nicky Grist who was co- driver  to  the  late  Colin  McRae  in  1997,  2002,  2005  and  finally  2006. 

David  will  now  need  a complete days management and timing training to be combined with the skill to read the adapted pace  notes.  After  a  full  day  in  the  classroom,  the  map  weary  rally  virgin  will  head  straight  to Pickering  hoping  he  has  taken  enough  in  to  navigate  Jardine  and  himself  around  the  fast  forest stages of the Yorkshire forest. In the build up to the event

Jardine said, “David is facing quite a tall order to qualify in a such short space  of  time.  By  the time he arrives in Yorkshire he will have been put through his navigational paces  by  former  World  Rally  Championship co-driver Nicky Grist who partnered Colin McRae for many years, so I hope he is able to take it all in as he will only have a few hours before he has to put it all into practice.”

David  Smith  said  before  the  event,  "I'm  looking  forward  to  the  rally  with  both  excitement  and trepidation.  My major concern is letting Tony and the team down through my lack of experience.  I know from my one previous event 19 years ago that it is easy to incur penalties for basic errors like checking  in  too  early.  As  for  giving  Tony  a  wrong  call  while  speeding  through  a  forest,  the consequences  don't  bear  thinking  about,  but  the  day  Tony  and  I  spent  at  Silverstone  Circuit's excellent  Rally  Experience  course  has  whetted  my  appetite  for  the  sport  and  I  can't  wait  for  the action  to  start.”  

 Smith went on  to outline his personal targets, “The first priority will be forming a bond with Tony so that he can trust my co-driving as much as I trust him behind the steering wheel. The aim is to form a competitive team. I'm not going along just for the ride. I want to be a winner." The  Castrol  /  Evening  Standard  team  will  be  competing  in  a  Ford  Fiesta  ST150  which  will  be prepared  once  again  by  York  based  ProSpeed  Motorsport.  

 Managing  Director  Olly  Marshall commented, “It is good that we have a co-driver who has had some experience inside a rally car, but it’s limited so it is still going to be a challenge for David.  The Trackrod is only the start of things to  come,  he  will  need  to  keep  focused  throughout  the  campaign  and  remember  everything  he learns on the way.  The crash course from Nicky will almost definitely help him understand what he needs to be doing.”

The  team  travelling  to  Yorkshire  to  compete  in  the  Trackrod  rally  will  also  consist  of  Andy  Beale who is a McLaren technician and test driver based in Lightwater, Surrey.  Beale who has been ever present  for  Jardine  on  his  rally  campaigns  since  2006  said,  “It  is  going  to  be  an  interesting weekend, firstly to see how far David has come in just a week, and then secondly to see what we can achieve as a team.  It will be a learning curve for all of us, but we are determined to get it right.”

 The Ford Fiesta ST150 driven by experienced driver Jardine and his new co-driver David Smith will be supplied with the latest tyres from Kuhmo, the latest safety clothing from Alpinestars and a new Arai  crash  helmet  with  a  special  intercom.  The  now  complete  tight-knit  team  aim  to  impress  in Yorkshire.