NEWS: John Turns Speed Seeker For Sunseeker
11th October 2013

The Culina Palletforce Racing team is set for an exciting climax to its maiden season in the MSA British Rally Championship with next weekend’s eagerly anticipated Rallye Sunseeker in Dorset. Its crew of John MacCrone and Phil Pugh will round off the season in style when the thrilling series finale kicks off from Poole on Saturday morning. After a season full of ups and downs knocked him out of the chase for the British Rally title, Mull driver John will be searching for a change of fortune to round off the season on a high. However, once again, the event is not one he’s got useful experience of.

This year’s Rallye Sunseeker features a host of changes. It’s moved from the traditional February date to October and that change has meant the gravel roads are in tip-top condition after the summer. The event has also moved base to Poole and features an ultra-compact itinerary with 58 stage miles across 10 stages on Saturday. The special stages are not your traditional demanding forest roads that MacCrone and Pugh have tackled already this year in their Culina Citroen DS3. They tend to have softer surfaces and are not as technically demanding. However, that means the competition is set to be fierce and, like the last round at Rally Yorkshire which went down to the wire, the top crews will be separated by a matter of seconds. The event also boasts one of the most popular ceremonial starts in the championship with huge numbers of spectators set to pile into Poole Quay on Friday night to see the rally stars cross the start ramp.

John and Pugh head to the southern coast under little pressure. Last time out in Yorkshire the pair struggled to find the pace needed to match the championship front-runners and focused on rebuilding their confidence after a high-speed retirement in Northern Ireland. That means they can head to the Sunseeker and go for a blast with the aim of finishing the season in style. While the fight to lift the British Rally title goes down to the wire, John will be aiming to mix it with the pace-setters as the battle reaches an exciting climax. He will head to the event match fit after competing on the iconic Mull Rally this weekend. After finishing second overall last year, he starts his home rally tonight as one of the pre-event favourites on a rally where locals traditionally shine.

Event Details: Starting from Pool Quay on Saturday morning, the rally features three loops of stages split by service at Creekmoor. The bulk of rally action takes place in the Ringwood forest with three variations of the stage, North, West and South, being tackled. Competitors also visit the stately home setting of Somerley Park for three timed stages during the day.

John, Culina Palletforce Racing team driver, said: “I don’t have a great deal of experience of this event. In 2011 I completed one stage then retired with an electrical problem. It should be quite a competitive event and all the top drivers will be going there aiming for victory. I’ve got my confidence back after Rally Yorkshire and now we need to up the pace and take a step forward for this final event.”

Thomas Van Mourik, Culina Palletforce Racing team principal, said: “We have had an exciting first year in motorsport and the season is set to end in style with the Sunseeker next weekend. Unfortunately we are not in a position to challenge for the championship title however John and Phil can go out without any pressure and hopefully bring the season to a close with a strong result. The rally's popular spectator-friendly location allows us to enhance our guest programme, introduce more people to rallying and experience our team's challenge first-hand.”

Report: Courtesy of Culina Palletforce Racing


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