Citroen C2 pilot Charlie Robinson was unlucky to miss out on victory at the second round of the GwynneSpeed Rally Challenge last weekend as he suffered a time zapping fuel pump issue, costing him the win at the Get it Sideways Stages near Cirencester.
Despite setting fastest stage times on all but one of the ten tests during the day, the Cheltenham based rally driver succumbed to a substantial fuel leak on the fifth stage of the event, costing him victory on his first outing this season.
The Active Drone Services backed ace only managed a handful of outings during 2016 but thanks to the support of his sponsor and backers Cotswold Electricians, Robinson has been able to commit to a substantial programme this season, based around the ultra-competitive single make formula for the Citroen C2.
With regular co-driver Kevin Wills unable to attend due to family commitments, Sam Davies from Hereford joined Robinson for the event and the duo elected to play a “joker” at the event, doubling any points earned.
Things certainly started well, setting fastest time on the very first stage of event which instantly handed Robinson five bonus points to boost his tally this season.
Power steering failure on stages two and three meant that the 28 year old had his work cut out to keep the Citroen on the road. Despite being hampered by the lack of steering assistance, Robinson showed no sign of slowing down and continued to top the time sheets during the morning’s stages.
But it would be stage five that would undo all his hard work when the standard fuel system in the engine bay began to leak, spraying fuel into the engine bay. He was forced to stop and make a hasty repair, losing over two and a half minutes in the process, demoting him to sixth spot.
Taking fastest stage times on each of the remaining stages, Robinson did his best to fight back and continued where he had left off in the mornings tests, finishing the event just 35 seconds behind the leader.
Despite his late charge however, it would only be good enough for fourth. Robinson’s day was saved by his joker round nomination and he vaulted to second overall in the championship after two rounds.
“I’m really gutted to have ended the day like we did” said Robinson. “We showed all day long that we had the pace to win and all our hard work was ruined by just one stage. As it was a fuel leak we simply couldn’t risk carrying on so I had to stop and fix it.”
But Robinson already has his sights set on the next round.
“Sometimes you have to just pick yourself up and concentrate on what’s around the corner. Aside from the issues with the car, there are a lot of positives to come out of the weekend. The pace is there and I am second in the championship so that’s certainly not a bad way to start the season”.
The next round of the series takes competitors to Cornwall for the TSH Stages in May.
Image credit: Gasmark Media