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Faulkner Nicky Grist13Now into the second half of the 2013 BTRDA Rally Championship, Round 6 took the crews back into Wales and to the infamous Epynt military ranges for the Nicky Grist Stages Rally. 7 stages in the Cefn, Crychan and Halfway forest complexes faced the crews who made the journey to the event; based in the town of Builth Wells with the service area utilising the fantastic facilities of the Royal Welsh Showground.

Stage 1 through the Cefn forest would be an eye-opener for the CAB Auto Mitsubishi team of Scott Faulkner and Dom Adams as the weather for the event forecast temperatures of 30 degrees with no wind! This meant that dust and heat would be an issue for all crews from the very start of the rally.

“The stage went well, I think I’ve finally woken up on the right side of bed! exclaimed Faulkner, pleased with his time through SS1. “We did have to virtually stop on two separate occasions due to the dust hanging in the trees! It’s like driving through thick fog at times!”

With SS1 done, SS2 would be a 7 mile blast through Cryhan 1. The hanging dust, again, causing problems for everyone. Scott and Dom set a 20th fastest stage time, moving them into 21st overall and 6th in class N4.

A short break at management service would allow the crews to re-hydrate with plenty of water and a brief check-over of the cars before heading into SS3, Halfway 1.

Scott and Dom had the bit between their teeth and charged into the stage looking to improve on their 6th in class.

“Roughly three quarters of the way through the stage the surface became very loose and I thought we had a rear puncture!” said Scott. “At that point the dust became extremely thick and a few corners later I was distracted by the dust and mis-heard a pacenote!! We entered a very sharp right-hander way too quickly, but I just floored the throttle and shut me eyes!” Faulkner recalled. “I was adding up the repair bill in my head as the car flashed past the trees, way too close for comfort – however we found some grip from somewhere and scrabbled out the ditch! Both myself and Dom sighed as we headed on through the stage!”

Moving up to 19th overall and 5th in class through SS3, they would get another water break before the crews drive on to SS4 – the very fast stage over Route 60. Whilst sat on the start line however the CAB Auto-backed Mitsubishi developed fuel pressure issues and a warning light would show on the dash!

“We were sat on the start line waiting to start the stage and the engine started to splutter and stall! As we were getting to the 30-seond countdown the start marshal indicated that the ambulance needed to enter the stage, and so I pulled out the way!”

With the ambulance in the stage Scott and Dom knew they had some time to try and fix the fuel problem and with nearly an hour sat at the side of the road waiting for the stage to re-start the organisers took the decision to cancel the run through SS4 for the remaining competitors. Scott would now drive the car back to the mid-day service halt at the Royal Welsh Showground with the fuel problems seeming to have cured themselves!

However, as Scott started the car ready to leave service, all was not well and the fuel pressure warning light was back on! With 15 minutes of penalty-free lateness allowed, the team set on the car to change the fuel pump, buried deep inside the fuel tank! With seconds left of their 15 minutes Scott and Dom headed out of service, however 100 yards up the road the car would grind to a halt – indicating that the problem may not have been the pump itself and causing another retirement for the team. “It’s another frustrating end to a rally for the whole team!” claimed Faulkner. “I know it’s all part of the sport, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept! Two events in a row we’ve retired from respectable positions – we really need to get some solid scores on the board on the final few rounds now!”

Scott and the team, with the help of Chris Timmins at C1-R Motorsport Services, will now over-haul the Mitsubishi ready for the Woodpecker stages rally on the 31st August . They head to the Ludlow based event hoping for a good result to keep their debut championship on-track for a respectable finish.

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