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EDSL Sport drivers Ruairi Bell and Jordan Reynolds highlighted the potential of the new M-Sport Fiesta R2 at last weekend’s West Cork Rally, with a string of top stage times in the Junior British Rally Championship category (16/17 March).

Both squad members impressed on what was both the car and crew’s debut in southern Ireland, with Bell giving the new Fiesta its first JBRC stage win on his way to fifth place in the category. A similarly strong showing by Reynolds was curtailed when an electrical issue caused an early bath for the youngster.

The Hampshire based firm would head to round two of the British Rally Championship with aim of putting their Cambrian Rally result last month at the back of their minds. The newly formed team made their Junior BRC debut at the event and despite an impressive showing in the tricky Welsh forests, only Bell and co-driver Darren Garrod were able to make it to the finish.

Last weekend, the brand new 2019 Fiesta would make its first foray onto Irish soil in the hands of the EDSL squad and all eyes were on the powerful machine to see how it would perform in on the lanes around the Clonakilty rally base.

The West Cork Rally is legendary for its difficult to master terrain and storm-like conditions on Saturday morning added to the task ahead for the young drivers. Driving wind and heavy rain made the stages waterlogged and a cautious approach would be required.

Having never driven the new Fiesta on asphalt before, it would have been understandable if Bell and Reynolds took a few stages to acclimatise to their new surroundings. But it wouldn’t take long at all and the duo set a string of top 5 JBRC stage times during the morning’s tests.

A mistake by Reynolds the rain-soaked Dunworley stage saw him plummet down the leader board after damaging the front end of the Fiesta, but the EDSL Sport technicians were able to effect repairs at the next service halt. Bell was on fine form, setting second quickest on the penultimate stage of the leg, to end the day sixth with Reynolds and co-driver Peredur Davies ninth.

Day two dawned much brighter and with the conditions dry, both Bell and Reynolds found an impressive turn of pace and showed the true potential of the new machine on Tarmac.

The 17 kilometre Ballinascarthy stage would be the highlight of the weekend, as Bell set his first ever fastest Junior BRC time, some 8.5 seconds ahead of his nearest rival. That trend continued on the next test with yet another fastest time and once again on the final stage of the event, to hand him fifth in the category and first Fiesta home. Reynolds would sadly fail to emerge from the 11th stage with electrical issues.

Team Manager Alex Waterman was delighted at the result and is excited about the future.
“We came here with a bit of an idea that the Fiesta was going to be a very capable car on the Irish roads and we have been proved right,” he said.

“For these young guys to come here and set fastest JBRC times on the car’s debut on closed roads is very impressive. Both Ruairi and Jordan have limited experience on Irish roads and yet despite that, the times were there. It certainly means that we will be looking to fight further up the Junior leader board as the season moves on. It’s exciting for the team and our drivers and I’m looking forward to seeing how we progress on the switch back to gravel next month.”

The next round of the British Rally Championship heads back onto gravel as the Pirelli International Rally offers a single day blast through the Kielder Forest at the end of April.

More information on EDSL Sport can be found by visiting http://www.edslsport.co.uk

Image credits: Jakob Ebrey Photography

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