Stuart Jones experienced more than his fair share of dramas, including a time consuming roll, en-route to taking a strong podium on last weekends Bala based Bulldog International Rally of North Wales.
Jones and his co-driver Andy Bull were originally intending to contest the rally in a brand new Mitsubishi Evo 10 but when the building of the car was delayed the pair arranged to hire an international specification Evo 9 from Gilles Philips Motorsport. With the car being unfamiliar and the deal only arranged earlier in the week Stuart had little time to test but knew that he had to push from the start of the first stage.
Whilst young Jones was immediately on the pace, a puncture three miles from the end of the opening stage, Dyfnant, cost thirty seconds and put the former Peugeot super cup Champion on the back foot. A very quick time through the second stage saw the Team JRM Lico Mitsubishi return to service in fifth position, and only 32 seconds off the lead. The pair then left service with the aim of regaining a podium position and even with a small roll on stage four, which caused minimal damage, the young talent was able to fight to the finish, eventually returning to Bala in third position overall.
“I was frustrated after picking up a puncture on the first stage, and after pushing on Stage 2 and matching the leaders, I realised the gap was too big to challenge for the overall win,” Jones said. “We were then driving for third position, when a misheard pacenote caused a small roll, resulting in a further loss of over a minute. Luckily the damage was only superficial and we were able to take third position.
“Having not driven on gravel since the 2008 Pirelli International Rally, I was really happy to finish on the podium.
“Now all we have to do is finish building the Evo 10 and find the budget for the rest of the year!
The pair will next be in action on the Pirelli International Rally on the 18th of April. They are confident of debuting their new JRM Lico run Mitsubishi Evo 10 on that event, the second round of the 2009 MSA British Rally Championship.
The Evo 10 is owned by former Icelandic Rally Champion Daniel Siguardsson and has been offered to Jones for the British Rally Championship, providing the budget can be found to run it.
by Geoff Mayes