Nicky Grist Stages - Day 1
Prestone MSA British Rally Championship - Nicky Grist Stages - MH Motorsport Day 1 overview
The Nicky Grist Stages proved to be as tough as predicted for the MH Motorsport team, with eight all-gravel stages kicking off the two day event in the forests of Epynt. With 44 miles of classic Welsh tests, it would be a harsh start to the weekend for some of the MH Motorsport Fiesta pilots.
Josh McErlean and Aaron Johnson had the newcomers tag for the event, his first rally with the team after several events in a self run Citroen C2. The young Irishman impressed many straight away on the opening loop of stages with several top three Junior BRC stage times in a strong debut. Those times improved yet again in the afternoon to end the opening leg 5th Junior.
"Aye' its been a really tough day and we had a pretty slow start" said McErlean. "The times improved in the afternoon but we are still a little away from where we want to be but happy enough to be at the end of day one".
Oscar Solberg and Patrick Barth continued to show their strong form on gravel, leading the Juniors overall up to stage four where a turbo boost issue lost the Norwegian pairing almost five minutes and putting them way down the order in eighth.
"What can I do?" said Solberg. "We were leading and then this. We now just have to drive".
In the Cadet Cup, MH Motorsport occupy two out of the top three slots at the overnight halt.
Alex Waterman and Harry Thomas sit second in the category after a confidence boosting day in the forests.
"There is just something about these stages I really enjoy and its been a really good day for us" said Waterman. "We had a set plan today and we stuck to that, we executed it and I`m happy".
Nabila Tejpar and Steve McPhee were another crew to enjoy a confidence boost during the day, with third spot going into day two.
"Yeah that was a good day today and it got better so that's a really good sign, shame its the last bit of gravel this season" she said. "Im still getting quicker which is encouraging and looking forward to the tarmac tomorrow".
Josh Cornwell and Richard Bliss were locked in a battle for the Cadet lead when the transmission failed on the R2 Fiesta leaving service. "It was going well today and I wasn't pushing too much" said Cornwell. "But we pulled out of service and there were some really nasty noises from the gearbox so we had to call it a day and will SuperRally tomorrow. New box' is in".
Six stages across the infamous Epynt Military Ranges lie in wait tomorrow (Sunday) with the switch to asphalt set to test even the most experienced crews.