Close fight for Clarke, Watson, White
As competitors prepare for the final event in the 2014 Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Driver’s And Class Championships, front-runners Daryl Clarke, Rhett Watson and Stuart White are looking to the dropped score rule to give them the edge to claim the prestigious Champion Driver title. Clarke and Watson have each finished runner-up in the past two years, but for White this is uncharted territory.
Clarke and Watson approach the final round tied on 116 points, with White trailing marginally on 113. Each driver must drop the season’s lowest score, however, which paints a far more intriguing picture, currently positioning White on 102 points between Watson (103) and Clarke (101).
As the final event of the season, the Winter Tarmac Sprint on October 12 – a double-header – is offering a total of 30 points for two class wins, and predicting the outcome is far from easy. While there are other class leaders with a mathematical chance of easing into the top three positions at year-end, it would take a hugely bad weekend for all three of the leading protagonists for that to happen.
Reigning supermodified 12 champion Watson (BMW M3) was runner-up in last year’s champion driver title chase. He is unbeaten in the class this year, but a shortage of starters in the season-opener cost him points, while he also failed to maximise power stage points on Sol Rally Barbados.
Clarke (Honda Civic) won the Modified 7 title in 2012, when he finished runner-up in the champion driver standings. While he claimed maximum power stage points at Sol Rally Barbados 2014, a mechanical failure cost him the day two class win and an important five points.
White (BMW 325) won the BRC’s new historic class title last year. He has been beaten only once in 2014, but also suffered from a badly subscribed class in the season-opener. He was the only entrant so he trails the others by a small margin.
The double-header format for the final means all bets are off. Predicting how each of the three major protagonists will perform is impossible, while the outcome of the championships may ride on whether each of their classes is fully subscribed. That means three starters for each of the two runs and how each driver performs against the other. It is an event not to be missed.
Entries opened today at Motorsport Services, Haggatt Hall, and will close at 1 p.m. on October 9. The briefing meeting, at which the running order will be published, is scheduled for 7 p.m. the same evening at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association Clubhouse, Christ Church, where competitors will also have the chance to air their views about the running of Sol Rally Barbados 2014.
After scrutineering at the MTW Chance Hall Depot in St Lucy at 8:30 a.m. on October 12, the event is slated for a 10 a.m. start. Round seven of the BRC championship will run from Josey Hill to Lamberts, with the direction being reversed for round eight. The lunch break will be at around noon, with the finish expected to be at approximately 3 p.m.
Commenting on the venue, BRC competition secretary Neil Corbin said: “The stage is quite short . . . however, it has a few challenging areas that will test both high-speed and low-speed manoeuvrability, especially in the area of the hairpin between the cut rock. Many years ago, quite a few drivers found this section very challenging . . . unless you get it right, there’s lots of time to lose.
“This event will not be one to miss, as it represents the final two qualifying rounds for the BRC 2014 Championships.”
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