Journalist in race to finish ...

final qualifying Rally to make World Championship Grade  

Castrol / Evening Standard team have to finish exacting GON Cambrian to obtain final licence upgrade signature Evening  Standard  journalist  David  Smith  will  nervously  take  his  seat  in  the  ProSpeed  Motorsport prepared  Castrol  /  Evening  Standard  Ford  Fiesta  ST150  next  to  driver  Tony  Jardine  at  the Cambrian Rally (1 November) knowing this is his last chance to qualify for a World Championship entry to Wales Rally GB (4-7 December).

 This will represent journalist and amateur rally navigator Smith’s final attempt to make the grade in order for him to compete on the world stage against teams from across the world on Britain’s round of  the  World  Championship,  Wales  Rally  GB. 

The  pressure  is  now  on  the  sports  journalist  from Dunstable and the Castrol / Evening Standard team to finish the rally. Smith’s  hard  work  and  enthusiasm  have  so  far  contributed  to  back-to-back  class  wins  at  the Trackrod  and  Bulldog  Rally  sitting  alongside  Sky  Sports  Tony  Jardine,  but  he  needs  to  continue with his new found form and a finish is far from guaranteed. The Cambrian Rally is a tough event over  rough  forest  tracks  with  slippery  long  forest  stages,  peppered  with  rocks  that  are  bound  to punish the car and certainly test the latest tyres from Kumho.

Co-driver  Smith  will  be  following  in  the  footsteps  of  some  current  rally  greats  such  as  Finnish drivers  Mikko  Hirvonen,  who  is  now  a  works  Ford  WRC  driver  and  currently lying second behind Sebastian Loeb in the WRC, and Jari-Matti Latvala.  Hirvonen and Latvala finished first and second in class respectively at the Cambrian Rally back in 2002 which is when they were both just starting out, and trying to make their way up to WRC.

Managing Director of ProSpeed Motorsport, Olly Marshall, said in the build up to the event, “David did  a  fantastic  job  last  time  out,  he  really  found  a  new  level  within  himself.    It  was  a  great atmosphere in the team camp during and after the event.  We all put a lot of work into it, which we will be doing again for the Cambrian.  Although David has probably got used to his winning ways, he now needs to concentrate on the job in hand.  We essentially need a finish, so that he can get the signature and move on to Wales Rally GB.”

The  ProSpeed  team  will  have  the  services  of  top  McLaren  Development  Engineer,  Andy  Beale, who  will  be  on  hand  to  help  prepare  the  car  for  the  event,  and  also  be  an  essential  part  of  the team’s  emergency  service  crew  to  keep  the  car  fettled  over  the  rough  surfaces.  Beale,  who  has been present throughout Smith’s campaign to enter the Wales Rally GB, said,

“We have had two terrific events with the results to show for it.  This rally is going to be the toughest rally yet and one of the most important with Wales Rally GB literally a month away.  We will do all we can to keep them going but on these surfaces at high speed anything can happen.”

When asked how he was feeling about the Cambrian Rally, David Smith said, “It is amazing how this sport can grip you. I have still only competed on two rallies, but already I have upped my target from  merely  finishing  to  actually  fighting  for  trophies.  On  our  last  event  in  the  Castrol  /  Evening Standard  Ford  Fiesta,  the  Bulldog  Rally  in  the  Welsh  forests,  the  working  relationship  between Tony  and  myself  finally  began  to  click.  For  the  first  time  I  felt  I  was  actually  contributing  to  the competitive  effort,  rather  than  being  a  mere  passenger  enjoying  a  high-speed  thrill,  and  beating some  quality  opposition  to  win  our  class  resulted  in  a  real  feeling  of  satisfaction.  The  danger,  of course, is that I assume I've now mastered the dark art of co-driving and everything will be plain sailing on the Cambrian Rally, back in Wales, this weekend. If I needed a warning that rallying can bite, it came on the Bulldog with the sight of cars crewed by far more experienced co-drivers than me lying wrecked or damaged beside the track. I know that any mistake I make on the Cambrian is likely to be punished in the biggest way, and that is serving to increase the pressure on me not to let  Tony  and  the  hard-working  lads  of  the  ProSpeed  team  down.  This  is  beginning  to  become  a serious business."

Along  with  ProSpeed,  the  media  duo  of  Jardine  and  Smith  will  be  fully  supported  by  Alpinestars, who will once again provide them with stylish but protective fire proof suits whilst Arai will further the journalists protection, supplying the latest crash helmets. This will be the first time that Smith has been to the Cambrian Rally but Jardine’s experience of the rally  from  previous  years  will  certainly  help  the  team  across  the  9  stages  containing  54  miles  of rough  terrain  in  North  Wales.   

When  Jardine  was  asked  how  he  thinks  his  co-driver  smith  was getting  on,  and  how  he  would  be  for  the  Cambrian  he  said,  “David’s  performance  on  his  second ever rally was amazing.  He now has a huge task in trying to replicate his form.  Its like the golfer who thinks he has sorted out his swing and cant find the rhythm again, he has to make sure he is on the ball from the beginning, as I will be going flat out and the risks of making mistakes are high.”

Castrol / Evening Standard team have to finish exacting GON Cambrian to obtain final licence upgrade signature Evening  Standard  journalist  David  Smith  will  nervously  take  his  seat  in  the  ProSpeed  Motorsport prepared  Castrol  /  Evening  Standard  Ford  Fiesta  ST150  next  to  driver  Tony  Jardine  at  the Cambrian Rally (1 November) knowing this is his last chance to qualify for a World Championship entry to Wales Rally GB (4-7 December).

 This will represent journalist and amateur rally navigator Smith’s final attempt to make the grade in order for him to compete on the world stage against teams from across the world on Britain’s round of  the  World  Championship,  Wales  Rally  GB.  The  pressure  is  now  on  the  sports  journalist  from Dunstable and the Castrol / Evening Standard team to finish the rally. Smith’s  hard  work  and  enthusiasm  have  so  far  contributed  to  back-to-back  class  wins  at  the Trackrod  and  Bulldog  Rally  sitting  alongside  Sky  Sports  Tony  Jardine,  but  he  needs  to  continue with his new found form and a finish is far from guaranteed.

 The Cambrian Rally is a tough event over  rough  forest  tracks  with  slippery  long  forest  stages,  peppered  with  rocks  that  are  bound  to punish the car and certainly test the latest tyres from Kumho. Co-driver  Smith  will  be  following  in  the  footsteps  of  some  current  rally  greats  such  as  Finnish drivers  Mikko  Hirvonen,  who  is  now  a  works  Ford  WRC  driver  and  currently lying second behind Sebastian Loeb in the WRC, and Jari-Matti Latvala.