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BRITISH RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP 2002, Round Two Review.
Encouraged by their performance on Round One of the British Rally Championship, Leon Pesticcio and co-driver Howard Davies had hoped to benefit from the vast amount of knowledge from both driver and co-drivers’ experience of the forestry complexes that made up the special stage mileage for Round Two of the Championship, The Rally of Wales.
Pesticcio had felt there would be some home advantage and familarity surrounding the Wrexham based event.
This assumption was short lived on the very first timed test with six miles of the stage remaining a puncture thwarted proceedings.
“We punctured around halfway through the stage. We then had to stop and change the offending item, costing us around five minutes.” commented the dejected driver.
The following stage, in an attempt to claw back some of the lost deficit, a heavy landing damaged a front strut on the YOKOHAMA/ CO-ORDSPORT backed Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII. Despite the damaged suspension Pesticcio had managed to move up five places on that very stage.
The overnight rest halt had the Bridgend driver and his Machynlleth co-driver in 40th place and 11th in the Group N class.
Sunday morning came and the pair were under no illusion of the task ahead.
“It will be a case of keeping things tidy and try to get somewhere near the leading GpN runners, we will use the day as a test now and hopefully we can gain some championship points at the end of the day.” explained Leon before the morning start.
The 20-yr-old driver showed maturity throughout the Sunday stages putting in some respectable times and moving up the leader board after every stage.
The Promax Motorsport service team were kept busy at every service with the chance of trying out different suspension settings and tyre choice.
Leon and Howard then suffered another suspension problem on special stage seven.
“The stage was quite rough in places having already been used once today and we broke a rear shock absorber coming out of one left hander.”
Stage eight should have been a close battle for fifth in class, with Leon and Howard just one second behind fellow GpN runner Phil Morgan. Not far into the stage transmission problems slowed the Mitsubishi and the pair had to settle for 18th overall and the sixth place in the Showroom class.
“We had been taking time off Phil on every stage, so with just one second separating us, we would have been able to take fifth, it just wasn’t to be. We are happy to finish our home event, but we knew we could have challenged better if we hadn’t had the puncture.”
The Welsh pair now travel to Scotland for round three of the series on 7th-9th June.