It was six years ago that Nicky Grist navigated for Colin McRae in a Skoda Fabia WRC on Wales Rally GB, and for the first time since then, Škoda and Nicky are teaming up again – this time to support the Nicky Grist Quinton Stages on Saturday 9 July, which will feature an innovative special stage, never before seen in British rallying.
The sixth round of the 2011 BTRDA Series will take place over the classic mid-Wales forestry stages of Monument, Crychan, Halfway and Route 60 – with 44 stage miles and just 26 road miles completed in an action-packed six-hour schedule. The rally is run over sections of the same Epynt Military Range stages, located near Sennybridge in Powys, that formed part of Wales Rally GB – one of two events that Nicky and Colin contested the a Fabia WRC in 2005. (They also competed on Rally Australia, and ran as high as 2nd overall before retiring).
This year’s Nicky Grist Quinton Stages will feature eight special stages, including the highly innovative Škoda Power Stage Challenge, which will be run as SS2 and SS5. For the first time in British rallying, these stages will see the crew in each class with the least cumulative time penalties have 10 seconds deduced from their total accumulative rally time.
Starting at the famous Dixies Corner, crews will be informed of their times over the 4.92 mile Škoda Power Stage Challenge by text, enabling them to plan their strategy for the final three stages – in the knowledge that all but one crew in class will have 10 seconds to try to regain, ensuring exciting flat-out competition from start to finish.
The Skoda Power Stage Challenge will be a major spectator point, with live commentary from rally extrovert Howard Davies (former co-driver to Gwyndaf Evans) and fantastic viewing, with a third of the spectacular Route 60 stage visible from vantage points.
There is another link between Skoda and the Quinton Stages, which makes this partnership so special. In 2006, Andreas Mikkelsen become the youngest ever winner of a British national rally when he won the Quinton Stages Rally, aged just 17 years and 16 days! Today, Andreas drives for Skoda UK Motorsport in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Skoda UK will also be the official vehicle supplier to the Nicky Grist Quinton Stages, providing a fleet of its award-winning cars for rally organizers to use.
Nicky Grist: “From both a personal and event organizer point of view, I’m delighted that Skoda UK is supporting the Nicky Grist Quinton Stages. We are keen to implement a number of new ideas into the rally this year, one of which is the Power Stage Challenge, which the MSA is allowing us to run this year as a test.
“In the BTRDA Series this year, the Somerset Rally was won by six seconds and the Plains Rally was won by only five seconds, so a ten second bonus on the Škoda Power Stage Challenge will be crucial. We see this as an evolution of rallying, which will be very exciting for both crews and spectators.”
Andreas Mikkelsen: “The Quinton Stages will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the very first rally I ever competed in. It’s great that Škoda UK is supporting the event this year and I really wish I could be there, but unfortunately it’s on the same day I have to fly to the Azores to prepare for the IRC event. I hope everyone who competes in Wales has as much fun as I did five years ago, and I wish them every success.”
More information on the event can be found at www.quinton-mc.org.uk