Journalist set for second stage ..

 of World Championship Rally training  

Castrol / Evening Standard team to compete on ‘World Standard stages’ at Bulldog Rally

Media due Tony Jardine of Sky Sports and co-driver David Smith from the Evening Standard are set  for  the  second  stage  of  their  build  up  to  this  year’s  World  Championship  Wales  Rally  GB  by competing  at  the  50th  annual  Bulldog  Rally  in  Shropshire  (18  October). 

Smith  requires  another signature on his national licence from this event to be able to upgrade to international standard to compete on the famous Wales Rally GB in December. Journalist David Smith, who must finish each event to qualify, will take his seat for only his second ever  rally  beside  driver  Jardine  in  the  ProSpeed  Motorsport  prepared  Castrol  /  Evening  Standard Ford  Fiesta  ST150  equipped  with  the  latest  Kumho  tyres.  T

hey  must  finish  this  tough  event  and build  on  his  successful  debut  after  claiming  a  first  in  class  at  the  Trackrod  Rally  in  York  (27 September).    However,  if  Smith  is  to  navigate  Jardine  through  the  tough  terrain  that  the  Bulldog offers, to another class win, he will have to switch back into rally mode and remember his training as it is two weeks since his last outing in a rally car. Smith’s  introduction  to  rallying  was  a  relatively  easy  one  at  the  Trackrod  Rally,  with  the  long  fast straights, and the 90 rights that the stages offer, but the Bulldog Rally has a completely different set of  characteristics  that  the  novice  navigator  will  have  to  master. 

The  Bulldog  Rally  stages  have always been used by drivers as a ‘shakedown’ for Rally GB as the challenging drops, gradients and flow are similar to those which World Rally Championship teams can expect in December. The Bulldog Rally will be a great learning curve for Smith, and it will also give him an insight into what to expect at Wales Rally GB (4-7 December) as some of the 70 stage miles in the daunting mid-Wales forests were once used in Rally GB.

The extremely challenging stages include the stage formally  known  as  Dyfi  Main,  that  has  an  immense  ‘ski’  like  drop  which  has  claimed  the  likes  of rallying  ace  Marcus  Dodd,  and  the  Gartheiniog  stage,  which  will  require  extreme  concentration. These stages will now be known as Big Ray and Wolfone in honour of the late ‘Big’ Ray Lloyd who tragically died in November of last year following a rallying accident.

 "My first event sitting alongside Tony, the Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire, was nearly three weeks ago and  I've  only  just  got  my  breath  back.  The  sensation  of  speeding  along  gravel  tracks  with  trees flashing by inches from the windscreen was simply awe-inspiring, and now we're going to do it all again in Wales.  This time, Tony tells me it will be even more exciting - and gruelling. “We'll  be  on  some  of  the  classic  special  stages  used  by  past  RAC  Rallies  and  Wales  Rally  GB World Championship rounds, and they are going to be a real test of our burgeoning driver/co-driver relationship.    I  made  a  couple  of  novice  errors  on  the  Trackrod  Rally,  from  which  Tony  was fortunately able to recover without incurring damage to ourselves or our Castrol / Evening Standard Ford  Fiesta.    I  know  I  cannot  afford  to  make  those  same  mistakes  again,  so  I've  spent  the  time between rallies carefully revising the lessons I received from my 'mentor' Nicky Grist, acclaimed co- driver to former world champions Juha Kankkunen and the late Colin McRae”, Smith said, who then went onto say, “I’m beginning to learn the true meaning of pressure.”

 Andy  Beale,  a  Development  Engineer  for  McLaren  will  join  forces  with  York  based  ProSpeed Motorsport to help the team in preparation for the event said, “Trackrod was a good event, the team instantly clicked and it showed with the performance we achieved.  We want to go to the Bulldog Rally  and  carry  on  with  our  winning  ways.    David  has  made  a  good  start  to  the  campaign  and  I know he wants to get better, myself and the team will be doing everything we can to give him the best chance to do so.”

Driver Tony Jardine has now switched helmet brands to Arai as he was previously impressed with Smith’s helmet and fittings.  Following their supply to David, Arai will now be supplying the helmets for both Jardine and Smith, whilst Alpinestars continue to provide the overalls. In the build up to the event 

Olly Marshall of ProSpeed Motorsport said, “It was a real pleasure to work  with  David  on  the  Trackrod.  He  approached  it  with  a  great  deal  of  professionalism  and enthusiasm.  Now with the experience of a rally under is belt, I’m sure there is more to come from an already excellent start.  I think we have the makings of a genuinely good co-driver.  This rally is a very demanding one for both driver and car, so David will need to make good use of the skills he has learnt so far and be at his best. The car will take a beating with all the boulder rocks that will be flying, so we will need to be extra vigilant in service.”

When  driver  Jardine was asked about the upcoming event he said, “The Bulldog Rally runs over some  of  Britain’s  finest  forest  stages  often  used  for  World  Championship  events.  They  contain every  variety  of  challenges  from  jump  to  huge  drops  and  flat  out  straights.  They  are  ideal  for David’s  second  big  rally  test  as  he  starts  real  graft  on  his  delivery  of  pace  note  instructions  and fervent practice of his navigational skills – we cannot forget this is a crash course and he doesn’t have long to get it right.”

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