Five-time winner Jeffrey Panton confirmed for Sol RB19

Jamaica’s Jeffrey Panton and Michael Fennell Jnr confirmed their participation in Sol Rally Barbados 2019 yesterday (April 15) in the Rubis/Sandals Barbados/KIG Ford Focus WRC06 in which they have won the event for the past four years. Panton was also the first regional winner of the former International All-Stage Rally – in 1998, with fellow-countryman John de Mercado in a Toyota Celica GT4 – and has a 100 per cent finishing record in his 14 previous visits, although he failed to start the Super Special at the Vaucluse Raceway in 2004, when lying fifth, and was excluded from the overall results.

With steely determination and skilful driving, Panton has built a reputation as the region’s most successful driver over the past two decades and more, enjoying an unrivalled partnership with co-driver Fennell, whom he always credits for his contribution; after their fourth straight Sol RB victory last year, Panton said: “Mike really does all the ground work, I only drive, and his efforts play a big role in the success.”

Twice the Caribbean Rally Champion (1996 & '98), Panton is unique in having won regional rallying's 'Big Three' - tarmac in Barbados (1998, 2015-'18), gravel in Jamaica (nine times between 1994 and 2015) and Trinidad & Tobago (2011 & '13) - and also finished on the podium in all three for two straight seasons (2012 & '13). Since 2012, when he bought the Focus WRC06 in which two-time World Champion Marcus Gronholm won the 2007 Galway International, he has regularly rewritten the region's record books, having also added a hat-trick of Flow King of the Hill victories last year and been crowned the Barbados Rally Club's (BRC) Champion Driver for the past two years.

Twice the Caribbean Rally Champion (1996 & ’98), Panton is unique in having won regional rallying’s ‘Big Three’ – tarmac in Barbados (1998, 2015-’18), gravel in Jamaica (nine times between 1994 and 2015) and Trinidad & Tobago (2011 & ’13) – and also finished on the podium in all three for two straight seasons (2012 & ’13). Since 2012, when he bought the Focus WRC06 in which two-time World Champion Marcus Gronholm won the 2007 Galway International, he has regularly rewritten the region’s record books, having also added a hat-trick of Flow King of the Hill victories last year and been crowned the Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Champion Driver for the past two years.

Already confirmed for the WRC class are Dane Skeete and Tyler Mayhew (Sol/CO Williams Sand & Lime/Automotive Art Subaru Impreza WRC S12B) and British crews Kevin Procter/Patrick Walsh (Procters Coaches/Swift Signs & Shirts Ford Fiesta) and Graham Coffey/Jack Morton, Coffey having replaced his former Impreza S12B with a Fiesta built to the same spec as Procter’s.

Sol Rally Barbados and Flow King of the Hill are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2017; Sol RB19 marks the 12th year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company, and the fourth by communications provider Flow.

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