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Round 5, and half way through the 2013 BTRDA Rally Championship was the Dukeries Rally, based in the lush surroundings of the Sherwood Forest area. More dry and warm weather was on offer as the crews, again, ready to compete on the 45 dusty stage miles the rally had on offer.Faulkner Dukeries13

The Southwell-based event is the most local to Scott and the team at SFRallying and it was a late decision to enter as there had been troubles with the car’s turbo charger following on from the Plains Rally last time out.

“We saw that the entry was uncharacteristically low on the event, and I know that there is a good chance to pick up some big championship points!” claimed Scott before the event.

The rally began with a good time for Scott and Dom through the short 1 mile blast of SS1; Watchwood. With no issues to report this was, finally, an event where Scott didn’t lose time to the class regulars on the first stage! It was much the same story in SS2 and SS3 for the team, with two more respectable times to see them lying in 13th over-all and 4th in Group N, only 17 seconds behind 3rd.

Scott had an 11th fastest stage time through SS4, Clipstone South, taking 12th place away from Phil Pickard in the B13 class car ahead – however the gap to 3rd in Group N had grown by another 6 seconds. The final stage before lunch in service saw another fast time for Faulkner, retaining 12th over-all. The stage also saw the demise of Patrick Naylor who broke the center diff in his Evo 9. This promoted Scott and Dom to 3rd in Group N entering service.

There was not much to fix for the team in service, other than to change onto a much harder tyre compound on the front of the Evo for the afternoons stages. The medium compound Hankook tyres chosen for the morning had worn very badly, and it was clear that they were too soft for the dry, dusty stages.

In stage 6 the team would continue where they left off before midday, with another consistent stage time holding position. In stage 7 Scott took a 90 degree left-hander too quickly and spun the Evo 9 onto the inside of the corner. Scott recalls;

“I saw that the corner was quite open and so I carried a little more speed into it. It was obviously too quick and the only way I was going to scrub the extra speed off was to have a spin! Unfortunately I nosed into the bank and I had to reverse the car!”

Scott and Dom conceded 12th place back to Phil Pickard in the class B13 car, however all was of no relevance as in SS8 disaster struck for Faulkner in the CAB Auto backed Mitsubishi! Scott recalled after the event;

“I knew something was wrong when a few corners into the stage I pulled the handbrake and I ended up punching myself in the chest!! It shouldn’t have moved that far and there was no resistance in the system! At the next 90 degree corner I would find out the hard way what was wrong, we were approaching it at roughly 120mph and when I hit the brakes to slow the car down normally, the pedal went straight to the floor!!”

Still travelling at around 40mph Scott threw the car into the left hand bend with no other option than to hold on tight and hope the car would make it round without sliding into the trees! He kept it on the road and with a few sharp breaths continued carefully through to the end of the stage!

“I thought we had just over-heated the brakes and that they would slowly come back to me!” explained Scott. Unfortunately the problem was caused by a split brake pipe on the rear left of the car, and the leaking fluid would catch fire on the hot brakes at the flying finish of the stage! As there was no auxiliary service allowed between stages 8 and 9 the team would be forced to make their first retirement of the 2013 season.

The team will take many positives away from the rally, knowing that they are now much closer to the pace of the Group N regulars and that the car and team are finally coming together as planned at the beginning of the season. They are hoping for a good solid finish next time out.

The car is fixed – ready and set for round 6 of the championship – the Nicky Grist Stages – based back in Wales, near Brecon, on the 13th July.

Photo courtesy of Steve Robinson

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