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Rally and Endurance

Tuesday 23rd August 2011


After losing two minutes with a wrong tyre choice and a broken driveshaft on the opening day of the Toddsleap Ulster Rally NI (19-20 August), Jonny Greer fought back magnificently in his Simpson’s ŠKODA Fabia S2000 to finish 5th and keep his title hopes in this year’s Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship (BRC) alive.

The 22-year-old driver from Carryduff in County Down has never had much luck on his home round of the BRC, with mechanical problems and punctures ruining all four of his previous attempts. Co-driven by Dai Roberts, this was Jonny’s first Ulster Rally in his ŠKODA Fabia S2000, and despite the slippery conditions on the fast, bumpy and narrow country lanes, things got off to the best ever start as he held 2nd place after SS3.

Jonny left service on slick tyres for the repeat loop of three stages, but a torrential shower of rain saw him lose over a minute on SS4. The rain had stopped by the time he started SS5, but another 20 seconds were lost as damp patches made progress extremely tricky. Having driven exceptionally well to keep the car on the road, Jonny aimed to push hard on the now bone dry SS6 to regain some of the lost time, but when exiting the first hairpin on the stage a rear driveshaft broke. Once again, it was an amazing feat to merely complete the stage in only front-wheel drive and get the car back to service after a long road section.

With a total of two minutes lost, Jonny ended Day 1 in 5th position. Hopes of victory might have gone but the David Greer Motorsport team had repaired the car and Jonny was determined to push as hard as he could on Day 2 and score as many BRC points as possible.

Jonny drove brilliantly on the second and final day – taking 35 seconds off David Bogie as he closed to within five seconds of the BRC leader, whilst at the same time keeping Elfyn Evans behind him. With none of the top five changing position on Day 2, Jonny finished 5th – although he scored 4th placed points, as Ulster Rally winner Garry Jennings is not registered for the series.

The result sees Jonny strengthen his 3rd position in the BRC and move to only three points behind Evans in the series, whilst he is 17 points behind Bogie.

Round 6 of the British Rally Championship is the Scarborough-based International Rally Yorkshire (23-24 September), which is the first gravel rally Jonny will have done since the Pirelli International Rally in April, while there are double points on offer at the final round of the BRC, the Isle of Man International Rally (28-29 October). With drivers also able to drop their two lowest scores, the race for the BRC is wide open, with Jonny very much in the hunt for the prestigious trophy.

Jonny: “Although the Ulster Rally is my home event, I’ve never had a good run and the bad luck continued this year as well. After a good start, we were caught out on slick tyres in the wet and then when it began to dry out a rear driveshaft snapped. We knew the rally win was out of the window and from then on it was a case of damage limitation and doing the best we could. We’d come to the Ulster Rally wanting to take points of David Bogie, and despite everything we almost did it. We started the second day forty seconds behind him and finished five seconds behind – we just ran out of stage miles to be able to overtake him. Day two was good fun, because we were also able to keep Elfyn Evans behind us and we enjoyed a really good three car battle for position.

“The Ulster Rally was a case of what could have been and now we’re looking forward to the next rally in Yorkshire. We hope to do a gravel test before it, as we’ve been rallying on Tarmac for the last four months, and we’ll be focused on getting a good result next time out and scoring some good points.”

Ulster Rally results – top 6
1. Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer)….1hr 51mins 26.6secs
2. Martin McCormack/David Moynihan (CitroënDS3)….1hr 51mins 44.3secs
3. Tommy Doyle/Liam Moynihan (Renault Clio)….1hr 53mins 02.7secs
4. David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Mitsubishi Lancer)….1hr 53mins 21.1secs
5. Jonathan Greer/Dai Roberts (ŠKODAFabia S2000)….1hr 53mins 26.7secs
6. Elfyn Evans/Andrew Edwards (Subaru Impreza)….1hr 53mins 32.3secs

Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship

Drivers’ standings after Round 5
1. David Bogie 94pts
2. Elfyn Evans 80pts
3. Jonny Greer 77pts
4. Martin McCormack 59pts
5. Adam Gould 47pts
6. Tom Clark 40pts
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