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Source : http://mgs2000.co.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=3
26 May 2008
Lico Wheels backed Stuart Jones made history by becoming the first person in the new generation MG Super 2000 to set fastest stage times in the British Rally Championship as the 23 year old put in a storming drive to snatch second position on the very last stage of an action packed Jim Clark International Rally. Stuart is also the first person since Tony Pond in an MG Metro 6R4 in 1986 to score a British Championship fastest stage time in an MG!
Stuart, along with co-driver Andy Bull, approached the opening loop of stages cautiously as a lack of budget had prevented a pre event test and the first time Stuart was able to drive the car on tarmac in anger had been at shakedown on Thursday night. The first loop of stages saw Stuart drop time as he was not 100% confident with the setup. At first service the MSD team made some changes to the setup which transformed the car as the young Welshman was immediately on the pace of the front runners.
With the car now working to his liking Stuart put in the kind of performance that won him the Peugeot 206 super cup a few years ago and saw him take two fastest stage times as he clawed his way back up the leaderboard to end day one of the 2008 Jim Clark International Rally third overall in the British Championship standings and a tantalising 24 seconds behind former champion David Higgins.
Stuart began to hunt David down on the opening stage on a cool and breezy, but dry, Sunday morning, taking one second out of him. Another two seconds were deducted from the deficit on the next stage and a further three seconds on the stage before the mid day service halt. A repeat of Stage 14 saw Stuart post his best time of the weekend taking the stage win by 5.3 seconds but more importantly closing the deficit to Higgins to just 8.9 seconds. Stuart commenting I’m now starting to really understand how to get the best out of such an awesome car.
Then, as he neared the end of the final stage he caught a glimpse of David Higgins ahead of him. Higgins had suffered transmission problems, and Stuart would eventually overall haul him with a time that was over 50 seconds quicker, thus taking second overall and equalling his best ever British Championship result!
Wow, what a weekend. David and I had a great battle on Sunday morning and to be honest I would have been happy with third, it just felt so good to be on the pace of the Group N cars. This is such a fast rally that we had expected to struggle to keep up here, especially with no testing, so to take second overall is fantastic, and is a massive tribute to MSD to produce such a competitive and reliable car straight out of the box. I also hit a rock yesterday afternoon and was very impressed with the strength of the new Lico wheels as I did not suffer a puncture.
Stuart and Andy, who are backed by Lico wheels, Arcasting, PIAA, Rallytech, Teng Tools, Motorsport Insurance Service and Dacha Oak Products, will next be out in action on the Isle of Man International Rally, which takes place from 17 to 19 July.