SUNOCO AND BRC PARTNER FOR SHAKEDOWN STAGES
Sunoco Race Fuels is the new sponsor of the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) forthcoming Shakedown Stages (Sunday, April 24), as local distributor Automotive Art introduces its newest brand to the market and reinforces its more than 25-year commitment to the Club and to island motor sport.
The 10-stage event in the northern parishes is crucial to the rally calendar, as island crews make their final preparations to face off against another huge influx of overseas competitors, who will arrive before month-end to contest the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol Rally Barbados (June 3-5).
American company Sunoco has enjoyed racing success since the mid-1960s, initially through an alliance with the Roger Penske Racing Team. Today, Sunoco Race Fuels are used in motor sport around the world on two and four wheels; the company supplies a host of major bodies in the United States, including NASCAR and the SCCA, and a number of European series, such as the British GT Championship and Radical European Masters, alongside drag racing, karting and off-road events.
Automotive Art General Manager Jonathon Hart said: “We are very excited to sponsor the Shakedown Stages again. It is always a great event, the last chance for most drivers to get some seat time before Rally Barbados. We have sponsored the event with Valvoline in the past but, this year, our newest brand, Sunoco Race Fuels, takes centre stage. We have a deep history with the Rally Club, and hopefully this new brand can really add extra value for the drivers, as well as the Club as a whole. Sunoco has a proven track record and I’m sure teams will be happy with the performance.”
BRC Chairman Mark Hamilton added: “Automotive Art has been a long-term partner of the Club since the company was formed some 25 years ago, so we are very pleased to have them return as title sponsor of the Sunoco Shakedown Stages. There are obvious synergies, which make this a perfect fit not only for the Club, but the sport in general.
Entries for the Sunoco Shakedown Stages open Thursday at Motorsport Services in Haggatt Hall, also on-line at www.barbadosrallyclub.com, and will close on Wednesday, April 20; the Briefing Meeting will be at 6:30 pm on Thursday, April 21, at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association (BCTSA) Club House, Searles, Christ Church, when the running order will be published.
Ten special stages are planned at two venues, with the 9.30am start, lunch break and finish (approximately 4:30 pm) at the Greenland Agricultural Station in St Andrew, where a Prizegiving is planned for around 5:30 pm. Scrutineering will be on Saturday, April 23, between noon and 5:00 pm at Automotive Art’s outlet at Welches, St Thomas.
The stage venues are Four Hills to Orange Hill, which will run three times in the morning, alternating with two runs from Collins to Pickerings; in the afternoon, the stages will be reversed, with three runs of Pickerings to Collins and two from Orange Hill to Four Hills. The competitive distance is 37.50 kilometres.
Already confirmed is Sol Rally Barbados regular Rob Swann, whose newly-acquired Subaru Impreza WRC S12B was off-loaded at the Bridgetown Port last Friday after its 10-day voyage from Southampton. In confirming his principal sponsors as Elegant Hotels and Blue Sky Luxury, he said: “I’m really excited about the new partnership with Elegant Hotels, as plans are being but in place for a programme of promotions which will benefit everyone involved, not just our team, but also the event.
“We had a busy couple of weeks to get the car ready. All is good now, although we had no time to test, so I’m looking forward to the first rally, which will be more of a shakedown for me in the new car.” His co-driver for the Shakedown Stages will be former BRC Champion Sean Gill, who won the BRC’s premier event as co-driver to Kenny McKinstry in 1996; at King of the Hill, he will have Aaron Rayner alongside, with Aled Edwards returning to the seat in Sol RB16, reuniting the partnership which finished sixth last year in Swann’s previous Impreza WRC S11.