Stuart Jones became the first British driver to win the very specialist Rally Reykjavik in Iceland last weekend.
The 30th International Rally Reykjavik consisted of 260 kilometre of stages over three days, made up of a mixture of tarmac and gravel stages varying from super smooth and fast Finnish style roads to the famous 39 kilometre rocky and twisty Kaldidalur stage, which saw the crews climb to over 1000 metre above sea level.
A new car, a new co-driver and completely new stages saw Jones elect to make a cautious start and after the opening leg, the 24-year-old was second overall and 17 seconds adrift of the leader.
Back at the service park Jones set about making a few suspension changes to improve the Evo X's stability for the faster stages of leg two.
"The car was moving around a little too much at high speed which made it difficult to commit to my notes," he explained. "But I am happy with my position going into leg two as there is a lot of loose gravel tomorrow."
Fastest by four seconds on the opening short tarmac test in the morning followed by equal fastest on the following kept the pressure on the leader as the crews headed for the huge 39km Kaldidalur stage. A time 20 seconds quicker than anyone else there, combined with overnight leader Jón Bjarni suffering a puncture, saw Jones return to the midday service with a two minute lead.
He then set out about extending his advantage and a big attack on the same 39 km stage run in the opposite direction saw the former BRC challenger more than double his cushion to over four minutes.
"That stage is just awesome, we had a great rhythm from the start and pushed hard all the way through the stage," he reflected. "We're in a good position now but were only half way through the rally so there is still a lot to do."
Jones continued to push in the afternoon and a string of stage wins allowed him to end the day with his lead now over five minutes: "It has been a great day for us, Isak was great on the notes and with his experience of the stages he was able to warn me of the bad corners which really allowed me to attack the stages and build this lead."
The final leg was made up of eight stages and Jones continued his impressive pace to eventually take the win by eight minutes.
"The SJR run Evo 10 is such a well balanced package now, it was easy to find a good pace on all the different stage surfaces," Jones summed-up. "It really responded well the harder I pushed it.
"The stages were very demanding on the car and it didn't miss a beat which made the win so much easier."
by Geoff Mayes