Ready to RALLY!

SEASON OPENER ON THIS SUNDAY

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer

Friday, April 20, 2018

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JAMAICA'S rally season will open with the Macklin Peterkin Memorial Rally in New Works, St Catherine, this Sunday.

Action is scheduled to start at 10:00 am.

“The Macklin Peterkin Memorial Rally will feature 10 stages and a total of 65.35km of stage miles,” Marcia Dawes, Drivers Rallysport Club (DRC) vice-president (Competition), told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto Magazine.

Leading the charge for 2018 is the defending champion team of Fraser McConnell and veteran co-driver Peter Clarke in their newly liveried KIG/Tru-Juice-sponsored Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

“The car make looks new on the outside, but it's the same old car on the inside with the same aim as last year — win, and win by a convincing margin,” Clarke told Auto.

For McConnell, victory may already be in sight as Thomas Hall, who finished second in the 2017 DRC Stages Rally Drivers Championship, is currently recuperating from a non-auto-related injury. Timothy Stewart, last year's third-place finisher, is without a vehicle.

“I'll be at the event as either the opening or closing marshal. My rally car is still in the UK for repairs,” said Stewart.

Another top name out is Joel Jackson. He is opting to pass on the opening meet as co-driver Dmitri Dawkins will be out of the island.

“Dmitri won't be here, so I'm without my regular co-driver,” said Jackson.

This leaves Kyle Gregg as the main competition for McConnell.

Gregg, who was a favourite to win, did not have great record in the DRC Rally, despite winning the overall title to be crowned 2017 DRC Rallysport Champion. However, he has reaffirmed his aim to correct that situation for this year to grab that elusive triple: sprint, stages rally, and overall champion.

The DRC currently comprises three main motorsport disciplines: stage rallying, sprints and dexterities.

“Our preparations have been good. All the major things damaged from the trees we hit in Rally Jamaica are sorted,” said Gregg.

Strangely, the provisional entry list has only one competitor from the island's western end. This is odd as Sunday's event is named after late Montego Bay driver Macklin “Dix” Peterkin. He collapsed while playing football and was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead on September 24, 2014. He was 43.

“Jordan Powell is the only competitor from the western end of the island. The Peterkin family has, however, indicated that members of their family will be present to support and represent at the event,” said Dawes.

She said there was some last-minute interest from out of Montego Bay, but nothing has been confirmed.

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