| Sykes in action on the Pirelli before technical problems|
Photo : Songasport
The Carlisle-based event was round 3 of the BRC Challenge championship and after excellent performances in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Boroughbridge Marina and Silverstone Tyres-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max on the opening two rounds Sykes went into the event at the head of the championship leaderboard.
The rally started well and going into the third stage Sykes was just six seconds behind rally leader Simon Moore despite not pushing hard as his target for the event was a podium finish rather than a win.
Part way through the third stage the car suffered an electrical problem which meant it had very little power as the engine would not rev above 1500rpm. Sykes and co-driver Simon Taylor carried on through the stage hoping to nurse the car to the end but there was a steep hill near the finish and the car did not have enough power to get up it. Despite frantic attempts to repair the car the event was over for the Stourbridge driver.
“Everything was going to plan, we were aiming for a podium finish so to be in second place early on was ideal,” commented Sykes. “Sadly the mysterious electrical fault ended our hopes. I tried changing various items on the car at the side of the stage but I couldn’t cure it.”
“It’s very disappointing as we’d prepared for the Pirelli more than any other rally we’ve done – I didn’t drink in the week before the event and I’d even been to the gym three times. The only positive thing is that the guys who took the podium places have already had retirements on the previous events so we’re still in a good position for the championship, especially as the next three rounds are on my preferred surface of tarmac.”
“Thanks to my service crew who have put heart and soul into the car for the last four weeks and were more gutted than we were at the retirement. We’ll get the little glitches sorted and move forward.”
Sykes’ next event will be the Jim Clark Challenge rally which takes place at the start of June.