James Wozencroft suffered heartbreak and despair on the Ulster International Rally when he was forced to retire following a high-speed roll on only the second stage of the event.
Wozencroft and co-driver Chris Ridge had been happy with a top ten stage time through the opening nine-mile stage but when the pair were caught out by a series of bumps part way through the second stage, they became high speed passengers as the car was catapulted down the road. The pair were thankfully just shaken but otherwise unhurt.
“We were in fifth gear at about 110mph as we approached a series of small crests in the road,” Wozencroft explained. “Over the first brow the car very unexpectedly launched into the air and landed heavily on the nose. This threw us into a bank on the right side of the road and started the car rolling.”
Team-mates Rob Swann and Darren Garrod began the event in confident spirits after having spent a full day testing the Geoff Jones Motorsport prepared car earlier in the week and this showed with a strong run through the opening stage.
Their confidence then took a great blow as they were first on the scene of James' massive crash in the second stage. After alerting the medical crews and ensuring both crew were okay, they continued through the stage non competitively and were awarded a notional time.
With the accident still on his mind Swann, by his own admission, was not on the pace through the final stage before service and his day gradually worsened when a heavy impact later in the evening split a hydraulic pipe and caused a small engine fire, which, in turn, damaged the electrical loom and caused turbo boost problems. The team opted to save the car from further damage by utilising the super rally rules and in doing so picked up valuable team points.
“Not a fantastic weekend for the Revolution Wheels team but there you go,” team boss Warren McKiernan said. “Thanks to Prodrive, Ohlins and Geoff Jones we are much happier with our tarmac set up and will carry that forward to the Tour of Flanders in a couple of weeks. All that matters is that James and Chris are OK after their ordeal and we move on from here.
“On behalf of the team I would like to thank Competition Car Insurance for their support on contesting the Ulster Rally.”