A record 101 crews from 15 nations are listed on the final running order for this weekend’s Sol Rally Barbados, the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International. Based on the results of last Sunday’s Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill, the seeding was published by the Barbados Rally Club today (June 6), in advance of this evening’s Briefing Meeting and Welcome Party.
From Saturday’s opening stage in the north of the island to the climax of day two, the 7.8-kilometre Power Stage between Stewart’s Hill and Padmore Village, competitors will face 22 closed-road tarmac special stages and a total stage distance of a little over 120 kilometres.
At 9.30am on Saturday, England’s Paul Bird and Scottish co-driver Kirsty Riddick will pull out of the Greenland Agricultural Station carrying start number one on the Frank Bird Poultry/Fuchs-Silkolene Ford Focus WRC08. They will be followed by the most successful driver in the 22-year history of the island’s premier event, 12-time winner Roger Skeete, co-driven in the Sol/Michelin/Da Costa Mannings Auto Centre/Simpson Motors Subaru Impreza WRC S12 by Louis Venezia.
The leading regional crews are next: Trinidad’s John Powell and Nicholas Telfer start at three in the Intercontinental Shipping/Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services/FT Farfan/Shell Impreza WRC S14, with Jamaica’s Jeff Panton and Mike Fennell Jnr (Focus WRC06) at four. Local crew Sean Gill and Michael Cummins (Simpson Motors/Shell V-Power/Automotive Art/Monster Energy Drink Suzuki SX4 WRC) complete the top five.
For the second year running, Neil Armstrong and Barry Ward are the top two-wheel-drive seed, starting at eight in the Chefette/Lubriguard/Hankook Tyres/Nassco/Redline Fuels/ARMAG Rentals Toyota Starlet, with Brett and Garry Clarke (Citroen C2 S1600) seeded 10th.
In addition to the battle for overall supremacy, there are no fewer than 14 separate classes to be decided, most of which involve island competitors pitting their skills against either regional or international entries, sometimes both. The entry will be reseeded for the 9.00am restart on Sunday, based on the results of the opening day’s 12 stages.
Sol Rally Barbados 2012 – final running order statistics
+ 101 crews on the final start list
+ competitors from 15 nations (including Barbados)
+ 22 four-wheel-drive cars, including 10 World Rally Cars
+ 64 International drivers or co-drivers – 28 new to the event
+ 10 drivers or co-drivers from the wider Caribbean
+ 12 female competitors, one driver, 11 co-drivers
+ cars from 20 manufacturers led by Ford – 27, Toyota – 19, Subaru – 10 and BMW – 9
How to find Sol RB12 . . . on the internet and on the ground
RallyFM.net will broadcast live commentary, news, information and interim results from 9.30am local time each day of Sol Rally Barbados 2012 . . . and there are now more ways to listen. On a laptop or PC, either go to www.rallyfm.net and click on ‘Listen Live’ or go to www.rallybarbados.bb and click on the RallyFM.net link. To listen via your iPad or mobile phone, go to the Appstore, Android Market or Blackberry App World and download the free App Tunein Radio – then simply search for ‘rallyfm’.
In addition to the improved radio service, regular updates on Sol RB12 will be posted on Facebook (www.facebook.com/BarbadosRallyClub) and Twitter (search for #rallybarbados and follow us). For results updates, go to www.rallybarbados.bb and click on the rallyscoring.com link.
On the ground, BajanNav is not only helping Sol RB12 competitors to find special stage starts and other important locations, as last year, but has introduced two new features to enhance its support of the event. The 2012 overlays for John Mann’s BajanNav, the GPS map for Garmin sat navs, now also include suggested vantage points for spectators, plus the Service Parks, as well as the start points of each special stage.
In addition, AccuNav has published an on-line, interactive map showing all the stages and spectator points. Seeing the route on-line allows competitors and spectators to see the whole rally in context, and plan their movements. Furthermore, Barbadians not involved in the rally will be able to see areas to avoid. Go to www.BajanNav.org, where you can find links to the on-line maps and the POI download.
“Last year’s initiative proved popular,” John Mann MBE, CEO of AccuNav Ltd explained. “When you have so many visitors moving around the island in such a short space of time, there is a high chance that some of them will get lost, which is unfortunate because we would like them to watch and enjoy Sol Rally Barbados.”
Sol Rally Barbados 2012 (June 9/10) and Sol Go Further/Scotiabank King of the Hill (June 3) are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group. Marketing partners are Simpson Motors, LIME, Automotive Art, Banks and Karcher; official partners are the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, Barbados Tourism Authority, Tourism Development Corporation, Divi Southwinds Beach Resort, Geest Line and Virgin Atlantic Airways; associate sponsors are Chefette, Climate Control, Field Insurance, Glacial Pure, Little Switzerland, Redline Fuels, Scotiabank and Stoute’s Car Rental.