motor sport correspondent Tony Jardine and F1 journalist Maurice Hamilton will have their long awaited rally reunion after their ProSpeed team came to the rescue with a vital ingredient, a rally car, at the last moment.
Following a successful 37th place overall on the opening round of the World Rally Championship in Sweden two weeks ago, in a one off drive for Subaru Norway, Jardine was keen to get back in a rally car for Rallye Sunseeker in the UK.
However, the car Jardine planned to use was sold days before the entry closed for Rallye Sunseeker - the prestigious opening round of the MSA National Gravel Rally Championship, which runs from February 26-27.
With a tight work schedule on his return from Sweden, Jardine was limited on time to try and source an alternative rally car until his York based ProSpeed team, run by Olly Marshall, stepped in to take up the hunt for a suitable car.
“There was nothing ready or available at such short notice until I started squeezing all my contacts,” Marshall explained, “but finally we located a car at the last minute near my own back yard, a 1400cc MG ZR with 115 bhp, which will be a bit of a contrast to the powerful 300 bhp four wheel drive Subaru Tony was using on Rally Sweden a couple of weeks ago! At least we can welcome Maurice back after a last minute find.”
Hamilton can now be reunited with Jardine after two years, following their successful Donegal International Rally exploits in a full WRC specification Skoda Octavia which was a challenge for the duo on the fast sweeping coastal tarmac stages on the Irish coast.
The MG ZR they will campaign on Rallye Sunseeker has a third of the power but is similar to the works MG machine with which the duo finished 35th overall and won their class in the World Rally Championship Wales Rally GB in 2003.
Hamilton and Jardine were then team-mates to Gwyndaf Evans, former British Rally Champion and have always enjoyed success together. The pair had promised each other another team outing since the Donegal but each time work got in the way.
“It has been disappointing not to team up for so long but each time something clashed or got in the way, this time we nearly didn't have a car! However, I am pleased Olly Marshall of ProSpeed kept up the search and I look forward to working with his professional team again,” said Hamilton.