In stark contrast to the flat forests around Bournemouth, the fearsome forest of Kielder has earned the nickname ‘Killer Kielder' due to the amount of rally cars that have been destroyed by the huge ditches alongside the gravel forest tracks over the years. Driver Andrew Coley and co-driver Dan Pearce made the long 450 mile trip from the south coast of Sussex for their first experience of the infamous forest.
Andrew Coley remarked: “We came here full of confidence after Rallye Sunseeker and had made a plan to really push from the start of stage one. I nearly put our Peugeot 206 off the road twice in the first 300 metres of the first stage, so we modified the plan immediately! There were five or six cars lying in bits at the side of the road in the first 5 miles, so we decided to give Kielder the respect it obviously demands and go for a strong finish.”
The Scottish weather played its part throughout the day, with snow falling on high ground and freezing conditions making the already slippery roads even more treacherous. Despite the tricky conditions the APCsport team set good times on the 3 rd and 4 th stages of the event to remain in contention for the class win.
On the final stage of the day, Coley made a huge ‘save', after having a particularly scary and rather long ‘moment' with the car on the limit of control down a very narrow and rough secondary forest road. On reaching the finish ramp in Jedburgh after an extremely tricky day, the APCsport crew actually thought they had finished in second place in the A6 1600 class, only to find out that their rivals had made a costly mistake late in the day.
Co-driver Pearce commented: “After the amount of near ‘offs' we've had today, especially on the last stage, we were glad to finish at all, so to find out that we've won is a great bonus as we've come a very long way to compete in Scotland. It makes the extra effort all the more worthwhile.”
After the success of the previous event, Rallye Sunseeker, the APCsport team were very grateful to receive an offer of support from two international motorsport suppliers, Kumho Tyres and Millers Oils.
Kumho tyres will be supplying the APCsport team with their excellent range of tarmac and gravel tyres throughout 2008 and their generous support contributed to the 206 staying on the road in such difficult conditions in Scotland!
Millers Oils are supplying APCsport with all fluids needed for the maintenance of the APCsport Peugeot 206 for the season, including their motorsport engine oil, gearbox fluid and brake fluid which will all aid reliability and performance.
Andrew commented: “We are extremely grateful to Kumho Tyres and Millers Oils for recognising our efforts and offering their support this year. It will make a huge difference to our performance and allow us to continue to compete until the end of the season.”
Andrew and Danny will skip the next round of the National Gravel Rally Championship, the Manx National Rally on the Isle of Man , to save their limited budget for round four, the Severn Valley Rally in Wales at the end of May.
APCsport are grateful for the support provided by the following companies in 2008: