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More than 200 entries have been received for the inaugural RallyE-Barbados, which is being hosted this weekend (May 29-31) by the on-line rally group, Carib Rally Club (CRC), on Codemasters’ Dirt Rally 2.0 game. The venture, which is endorsed by the Barbados Rally Club (BRC), follows the successful running of King of thE Hill last Sunday (May 24), which was won by Jeremy Gonsalves of Barbados.

Judging by the entry list, the Esports event looks set to reflect the high levels of competition seen in the Rally Club’s premier event in recent years. Previous winners including Roger and Dane Skeete and front-runners like Britain’s Roger Duckworth and Rob Swann will face an international field including Finnish ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Salo, the reigning FIA European Rally Champion Chris Ingram and 2016 DriveDMACK Fiesta Trophy winner Osian Pryce from Wales.

And Gonsalves should not be discounted: with victory in one of CRC’s first events, a three-day rally based on the cancelled Rally Trinidad 2020, already under his belt, the Bajan did not have it all his own way on King of thE Hill, however. Britain’s Liam Carfrae was quick early on, ahead of the Controller class throughout the day, with Dominic Ollivierre from St Vincent & The Grenadines moving ahead after two runs, with a time of 4m 53.386s, two-tenths ahead of Carfrae.

Gonsalves moved into the lead on his third run (4:52.410) and, while Carfrae failed to improve, Ollivierre pulled out all the stops on his final run (4:52.609), passing Carfrae for second, but falling short of victory by less than two-tenths of a second. Carfrae was the comfortable winner of the Controller class, with Sol Rally Barbados 2019 winner Dane Skeete second in class and ninth overall.

Attention now turns to this weekend’s RallyE-Barbados 2020, which will cover 25 special stages, three on Friday night, 12 on Saturday and 10 on Sunday, with the start times brought forward (on days two and three) to 4.00am Barbados time, to allow easier access for British and mainland European competitors. A Briefing Meeting via Microsoft Teams is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) where all drivers will receive specific event details and can raise any questions or queries.

The 200-plus entry list pits motor sport regulars against Sim-only competitors, with just over half the total from Barbados. Gonsalves and the two Skeetes will also be joined by the 1999 International All-Stage winner Trevor Manning, Max Ferri (co-driver to 2005 winner Roger Mayers) and regular class winners such as Jamal Brathwaite, Neil Corbin, Stuart Garcia and Jermin Pope. In addition to Duckworth and Swann, Ryan Champion, Ray Clough, Mo Downey, Dylan Jones, Gareth Parry and Seb Perez – a visitor in the past with his father Steve – are among the familiar overseas names, while regional entries include Kyle Gregg and Fraser McConnell from Jamaica.

Organiser Robert Simmons says: “The entry is really good, with drivers from as far afield as New Zealand, Sierra Leone and the United Arab Emirates, so it should be every bit as exciting as its real-world counterpart. The event will use Dirt Rally 2.0’s German stages, which are comparable to our Barbados stages and we have set up a Shakedown to give competitors a feel of what the stages and conditions could be like.”

In addition to Thursday’s on-line Briefing Meeting, the management of the event includes a complaints and protest procedure to settle most foreseeable situations, along with two experienced Stewards who will man a dedicated e-mail account to handle all event matters.

Simmons added: “Last Sunday’s King of thE Hill was praised by all as a successful and enjoyable event. I am pleased that we have repaid the faith put in us by the Rally Club and the Barbados Motoring Federation and thank them again for their endorsement and support. In addition to the Club’s agreement to provide prizewinner’s hats for the top three overall and the top three in each of two classes, we now have a commitment from Cargo BGI to ship prizes to any winners living abroad and also from Blades Trophies, who have worked with the Club for many years. My thanks to them also for backing our fledgling venture and adding to the basket of goodies for our competitors.”

King of thE Hill
Sunday, May 24
1st Jeremy Gonsalves – BAR (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5), 4m 52.410s
2nd Dominic Ollivierre – SVG (Ford Fiesta R5), + 00.199s
3rd Liam Carfrae – GBR (?koda Fabia R5), + 01.183s
4th Chris Corbin – BAR (?koda Fabia R5), + 02.158s
5th Niall Cator – GBR (Ford Fiesta R5), + 05.101s
6th Gareth Parry – WAL (Ford Fiesta R5), + 05.800s
7th Benjamin Moore – BAR (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5), + 06.274s
8th Zukeli Inniss – BAR (Mitsubishi Space Star R5), + 06.288s
9th Dane Skeete – BAR (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5), + 06.979s
10th Kyle Batson – BAR (Ford Fiesta R5), + 07.555s
Wheel: 1st Gonsalves; 2nd Ollivierre; 3rd C Corbin; etc
Controller: 1st Carfrae, 4m 53.593s; 2nd D Skeete, + 05.614s; 3rd Batson, + 06.362s; etc

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB20 marks the 13th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fifth by communications provider Flow.

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