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The MG ZR of Gwyndaf Evans and Chris Patterson was to back on form after the previous evening’s power steering problem on the final stage, was resolved during the first service of the day. The car was putting in an excellent performance in the Super 1600 Class on special stage 8, Resolfen, until a right front puncture temporarily halted its challenge. Gwyndaf explained: “The MG felt good this morning and we were having a excellent run through Resolfen, which is a very, very long stage – we were set to put in a great time when unfortunately we had a puncture on a keep right for a bad left hand corner. We thought we’d get away with driving on the flat but the tyre shredded and we had to stop and change it. That was really disappointing.”
The service following Resolfen went smoothly. Gwyndaf and Chris left the Service Park to embark on the run of four special stages before the next service stop, with their MG ZR running 6th in the Super 1600 Class.
The remaining Group N car, the MG ZR of Tony Jardine and Maurice Hamilton, was being put through it’s paces and standing up well to the challenge. Before setting off for the afternoon run of four special stages Tony said: “Resolfen was like a stage of two halves, the first was very, very slippery, the second, which was kind of in the sunlight, had dried out a bit more and therefore enabled us to get some grip. The same factor dogging us all the time is the damage caused by the holes in the road and the deep ruts. The MG is really taking a hammering – the Network Q Rally GB is all about survival.”
Previously... EVANS & JARDINE SAFELY THROUGH SIX STAGES OF RALLY GB
The first MG ZR of Gwyndaf Evans was sixth in super1600 class after six stages of the Rally GB. Only the Super Special Stage at Cardiff stands between Gwyndaf and co-driver Chris Patterson having a successful first full day in Wales. At the scheduled 45 minute service at Felindre, Gwyndaf said: “We’ve had a good day and pleased to be in the top six as I hoped we would. I’m pleased with the speed of the MG. We had a problem with the power steering on the last stage, which cost us a little time. But we’re pleased to be here and we’ve only a little stage to do now. It’s been a good day for MG and the crew.”
Mark Blundell returned to the service area early after retiring on stage 5 of the rally due to transmission failure. As he got to grips with the car and the conditions co-driver Bob Mckenzie, correspondent for The Express, explained: “Mark’s confidence was really starting to show as he completed some of his best driving in his early rally career. The stage was really going well and I was ready to write a glowing report.” Mark added: “It’s been a fantastic experience. Firstly to have the opportunity from MG to drive has been a dream come true and secondly I’ve learnt to have a great admiration for rally drivers and co-drivers, they do a great job. I’ve been slightly blown away by the conditions and the kind of speeds you carry in these conditions. It’s really frustrating not to have made it to the end of the rally and somehow, somewhere I’d really like to have another go.”
The remaining Group N car driven by Tony Jardine and Maurice Hamilton continued to run smoothly. Before setting off for the final stage at Cardiff Tony said: “That last stage was really tough because we lost the notes and the wipers. It was a little hairy so we had to calm down a little. We’ll just get the car checked but overall it’s going great. We also have to remember that we are now the smallest production car in the rally.”
Front right suspension damage was the reason for Rob Gill’s early retirement from the rally on stage 3. Rob explained: “We’ve had a good year in the British Championship with the MG and a 100 percent finishing rate, so we were confident of finishing. We were really starting to find our feet, the car was behaving perfectly and did everything I asked. Unfortunately, we had a bit of bad luck on our side and as we’ve come to a fast right with a small bump and as we landed we damaged the suspension. There was just no way that we could continue. When you put into perspective that around 85 cars had been through the stage before there was a lot against us.”
Gwyndaf Evans set the fastest time (2.21.8) on Super Special Stage 1 at Cardiff on Thursday evening.
Issued by MG Rover Group Communications