Californian Nick Allen and British co-driver Andy Bull won the inaugural event in the 2012 Twingo Renaultsport R2 Trophy UK this weekend, Scots pairing Garry Pearson and Craig Wallace taking the R1 Trophy honours on their second event in this series.
The event, Bulldog International Rally of North Wales was the second round of the MSA British Rally Championship, this year an all two wheel drive affair which has attracted drivers from around the world.
Having only contested a small number of events in his home country, Allen has been putting in the stage mileage since moving to the UK to fulfil his BRC ambition. He cites himself as a long-time follower of rallying in the UK, so this was a real dream come true for the ever-smiling American. However as with all rallies, it is not always the fastest on a given stage that wins.
It was actually Formula 1000 graduate Chris Ingram who set the early pace in his freshly upgraded Twingo R2 Evolution, although his path to the start of the rally was not an easy one.
Having opted for the 190 horsepower upgrade, courier delays meant that the car was literally completed hours before the start on Saturday, the youngster benefitting from the cancellation of Friday’s two tests. He and co-driver Joe Cruttenden attended the 6pm ceremonial start on foot, leaving the team to bolt on a new engine computer and attend a late safety check arranged by the organisers.
But with the bit between his teeth, he set about the stages, climbing to an impressive 14th place by the eventual penultimate stage. Sadly the fuel filler had not been attached after refuelling and given the low level remaining in the tank, he took the sensible option to limp through to service, handing the lead to the American.
It was at this point that Allan and Bull proved the immense camaraderie in rallying. With Ingram’s car now out of fuel and potentially out of the rally, Allen stopped to see if he could help. This he duly did by pushing the youngster’s Twingo with his own, eventually changing to a tow rope when their engine temperature soared through lack of air-flow.
Meanwhile Garry Pearson and Craig Wallace were on their way to another maximum points haul in the Twingo Renaultsport R1 Trophy UK, Class 10 and Junior categories in the MSA British Rally Championship.
Their rally went according to plan, the sole Scottish crew on the event even finding themselves too quick on a couple of stages. Having made excellent time, they caught the dust of the car ahead, eventually managing to pass it, but losing time in the process.
Like Ingram, they also had a problem in the penultimate stage, clipping a log pile and bending the rear axle. But a degree of skill and commitment got them through the next stage relieved that it could then be repaired at service.
However on the road section back to the Dolgellau service area, a car from one of the preceding events had caught fire, the fire brigade and police closing the road. The subsequent delay forced the cancellation of the final three stages leaving just the ceremonial finish back in Welshpool.
Undeterred, the crews arrived at the finish, Pearson and Allen spraying champagne while Ingram rued a missing fuel filler cap, nevertheless picking up valuable points in the R2 Trophy.
Importantly, as the end of season Twingo Renaultsport R1 Trophy prize drive depends on Junior victory, Pearson leads the MSA British Junior Rally Championship too, beating Fiesta rival Steve Røkland in their first real encounter.
The next event in the BRC calendar, counting towards both Twingo Trophies, is the Pirelli International Rally which is based in Carlisle and uses the infamous Kielder Forest complex. The rally starts on Friday 27th April with stages continuing into Saturday 28th.
For more information on the Twingo Renaultsport R1 & R2 Trophy UK visit www.renaultsport.co.uk built by Racecar