London based Greek driver George Philippedes, backed by Warwick Wright Peugeot Dealerships of London, and his new co-driver Bob Rose teamed up together for this weekend's Peugeot 206 Super Cup round, set in the heart of Mid Wales - the Quinton Stages.

Saturday morning and the duo were in an up-beat mood going to the start control, as they had just recently won second place in their class, in last weekend's National Championship Round, Swansea Bay! (This was a great result as the pair had never met before the event, let alone sat in a car with one-another.)

Stage one was Monument, set in the heart of the infamous Eypnt Military Ranges. 5-4-3-2-1 and they were away! The weather was fantastic, glorious sun just as last week, causing a small amount of dust- but nothing to the first stage of last week's event when the duo caught another competitor on the opening stage - no bad luck this time as George set a very respectable first stage time of 4.24, only 5 seconds off the 206 title leader Garry Jennings, George commented: "We kept our heads on the first stage and only drove at 85%, there is still a lot more to come for the rest of today's stages."

Stage two Crychan, another famous stage from the World Rally Championship, was a further few miles down the road from SS1. The pair discussed their strategy for this stage and decided they could increase their speed and drive at 100%, hoping they could surprise the leading drivers and take an early lead. At the start of the stage everything was great, the duo sprinted into a series of tight corners and were considerably quicker through these sections of the stage... when disaster struck, the car seemed to be losing power coming out of the tighter corners and George could not get the car to hit the rev- limiter in 5th or 6th gear on the fast straights. This cost the pair dearly, and they emerged from the end of the stage with a time of 6.24, losing 20 odd seconds to the leading lads. They headed off to the first service wondering what was wrong with the car.

Asquith Autosport worked hard in the service area, they checked everything on the car but a fault could not be found, the last thing to try was the ECU- (the cars brain!), and it worked! The guys left the service area back on track for the rest of the stages.

Stage three was the shortest of the day and was to be ran twice. As the pair set off, Bob was calling the notes and George who drove flat out at 100%, was calling back to Bob the corners that he could attack faster on the next run though the stage. (All competitors were not allowed a reconnaissance drive over the stages prior to the start of the rally like previous events). They again set a top 10 time though the stage.

SS4 Caeo, was one of the longest of the day, and prior going to the start, George and Bob jacked the car up and changed the tyres - front to rear, as the front tyres were starting to wear down their tread due to the roughness of the forest tracks, and an even longer stage was following immediately after.

The Warwick Wright backed driver headed back to service after stage 5, still in great shape and ready to tackle the last 2 stages flat out so as to move up the leader board. In service, George commented: "The car is going much better now that the guys have changed the ECU, I am lucky to have such an excellent service crew running my car. We are not a great amount of time off the leading crews and we have been beating guys who have been rallying Peugeots for years so we are happy with what we are doing but we will be even happier when we win!!!"

SS6 was a re-run of stage 3 and the duo had amended their notes on their first run. And it must have worked because they flew through the stage again taking a further 10seconds of their first time. Back to a short service and off again to stage 7, Halfway.

As the pair pulled up to the start of the stage and ready to go, it was stopped. A car had gone off in the stage and an ambulance was called, luckily enough there was no need for it- this was taken as a precautionary measure. Yet rumours were flying at the start of the stage, as it was later confirmed, that this stage had taken its toll on the 206 Super Cup competitors, with 3 or 4 top drivers not emerging at the end of the stage - and unfortunately George and Bob were to be amongst these casualties. George said: "We were on top form going into the stage and were going at a fair pace when Bob shouted his call and I emerged from around a blind corner to see a spectator standing in the stage slowing us down - we were in third gear and I was ready to pull forth when I saw this man, I slowed and took my foot slightly off the accelerator... it then got all out of shape, I tried my utmost to bring it back but the car had lost its grip, I was off line and on the damp patches. It was unavoidable not to end up in a huge mud hole on the side of the road. We later found out, that this corner was getting worse as the cars went around it and the guy was just trying to warn us.."

The pair, with the help of other fellow 206 competitors who had also gone off on the same corner and a large number of spectators, tried for 39 minutes to pull the car from the mud pit, with George refusing to stop trying unless the car was out and running again. They finally succeeded with not a single dent on the car, but it was unfortunately too late... they went OTL (Over Time Limit) and to their disappointment when arriving to the next time control were not allowed to continue with the final stage of the rally.

Both George and Bob would like to thank once again, Warwick Wright Peugeot Dealerships of London for their continued support along with Asquith Autosport, all the spectators who tried frantically to get the car back on its way again, and especially fellow competitors Jack and Grania Ingleby, who despite having gone off previously on the same corner, ran over to help bring the car back on the road, proving the strong ties and sportsmanship characterising some of the crews in this year's championship. The Warwick Wright team is now planning to go out and win a couple of extra events in August just to get more mileage under their belt and have sheer determination of wining in their next 206 cup event in Ulster, Ireland in September.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment