Neil Armstrong, one of Barbados' rising rallying stars, is to join forces with the Barbados Rally Club to promote its premier event - Sol Rally Barbados 2009, in the UK, it has been announced.
The three-time Barbados Rally Club Group champion has filed an entry for the opening round of the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship, Rallye Sunseeker, which runs from February 27-28 and is based in Bournemouth.
Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII, prepared by North Yorkshire-based MSR Motorsport, Armstrong will represent the island against a multi-national cross-section of Group N drivers from England, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden and Wales, many of whom are competing in the ninth year of the UK's Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, targeting the year-end prize of a new Evo X.
Armstrong's car will carry “Sol RB09” livery, as part of the Barbaods Rally Club's extended programme of promotion, while his management team for the event will include Ryan Champion, winner of Group N on Sol RB08.
The outing to the UK will not only mark Armstrong's first rally in Britain, but also his first trip to Europe, although he has done his homework.
"I've been checking the area out on Google Earth, and I've downloaded every bit of in-car footage I could find on YouTube, so I think I'm reasonably well-prepared,” said the 27-year-old. “I just need to get into the car as soon as I can."
Armstrong's co-driver will be fellow-countryman Max Ferri, who currently lives in England and who is a former winner of Rally Barbados, having sat alongside Roger Mayers in his Ford Focus in 2005.
"I've never rallied outside the island, so it's a first for me, too! I think it should be a great experience," he added.
Rallye Sunseeker is the first of eight rounds in the 2009 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship, and it is regarded as one of the best-organised and promoted rallies in the UK. As such it presents an ideal opportunity for the Barbados Rally Club to promote Sol Rally Barbados to both potential competitors and spectators, not least because two of the event's most enthusiastic supporters, Steve Perez and Paul Bird, will both be on hand to help.
In a separate development meanwhile organisers of Sol RB09 have confirmed that entries received so far have reached 36, the same number that started Rally Ireland, the first round of the WRC.
"We are making good progress, we're now up to 14 four-wheel-drives including five World Cars, most of them from overseas, and there's still a long, long way to go before entries close on May 1," stated Barry Gale, chairman of Sol Rally Barbados 2009.
For more information on Sol Rally Barbados 2009 visit the events official website: http://www.rallybarbados.bb/
or simply CLICK HERE