The second car in MG's Wales Rally GB effort continued its solid run today in Wales, though inside the MG ZR of Tony Jardine and Kevin Eason things have been getting interesting...

Whilst Gwyndaf Evans in the lead MG ZR rally car continues to work his way solidly up through the field, Tony and Kevin maintained steady progress, though with plenty to keep the crack media duo on their toes.

Despite being pitched up against rally legend Gwyndaf Evans, Tony Jardine at the wheel of his Sportinglife.com and Michelin backed MG is far from embarrassing himself with solid drives on the stages which bare testament to his many years rally experience.

Over in the co-driver's seat of the media car and Kevin Eason, motoring and F1 correspondent for The Times has considerably less rally experience, though he's having to learn very fast.

The first problem for the pairing in the second leg was that their notes proved to be a little too detailed for the speeds that Jardine was achieving on the stages. This meant that editing was having to occur on the stages, all of which making for a rather fraught and busy time for Eason.

"The red pencil's been out," admitted Kevin at the lunchtime service stop. "Just when we went through at speed I suddenly realised that a lot of it didn't make sense - what can I say?! We got through the first couple okay, there were two glitches on both stages, which slightly threw us and threw our confidence."

Things were better after Kevin had put on his sub-editing hat however. "The second time round because I knew where it was I kinda called it as I saw things coming, I was chucking away things from the notes we didn't need and constantly focusing on what we really did need, that was the key," he explained.

It certainly seemed to work; in the afternoon everything came together well and fast times were being posted by the ZR, though Tony's late braking did alarm Kevin rather a lot on one stage.

At the lunchtime service, where Gwyndaf's car was still looking in fine form, the Sportinglife.com backed ZR was looking sufficiently accosted and whilst the lead ZR's service stop seemed relatively straightforward, car 135's service involved welding gear and big hammers.

"We broke the sump guard," summed up Tony Jardine. Being that the sump guard is probably the most substantially built part of the ZR, and it's job is to protect the engine, breaking it must have been quite an achievement.

"It was just a lug off the sump guard," Tony continued, "We had a regroup alongside Gwyndaf and he had all the spanners out, he had some rattles and vibration he was trying to fix - he didn't know what it was - and then I just had a good check around on our car and noticed that one of the rims was 'bananaed' from a rock so it was lucky I spotted that."

Explaining the damage to the underneath of his ZR, Tony reckoned, like so many other competitors, that the conditions out on the stages were very rough. "The biggest problem really has been just the wear and tear, and the crashing and banging that's just been unbelievable."

The conditions being so rough have had one bonus however; Kevin Eason's overalls, which started the rally being rather tight, have been forcibly stretched with the bumps throwing the pressman about in the car. What this has done to the pitch at which his notes have been delivered in the car is unconfirmed, though Mr Jardine has been giving Mr Eason plenty of other things to think about.

"There was a cliff hurtling towards us at one point," explained Kevin at the end of a day that visibly aged him. "I was looking at the 500 ft drop. That was the only moment since I've started this that I looked over the edge and thought d'oh, but we managed to get it back with a bit of handbrake." Just one day left Kevin, then you can get back to the safety of the office.

 

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