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SUNOCO Shakedown Stages Victory For Swann
Read emerges on top of see-saw two-wheel-drive battle

On his first competitive outing at the wheel of his recently-acquired Elegant Hotels/Blue Sky Luxury Subaru Impreza WRC S12B, Britain's Rob Swann won yesterday's (Sunday) Sunoco Shakedown Stages. With co-driver Sean Gill, he won eight of the day's 10 stages, claiming victory by just over 13 seconds from Josh Read, who won an intense see-saw two-wheel-drive battle.

Before the start at the Greenland Agricultural Station in St Andrew, Swann said that the main aim was to get seat time in the car, having not rallied on tarmac since Sol RB15. By the end of the day, he considered it 'Mission Accomplished': "The first stage, we were cautious as there was a lot of gravel. We really weren't checking the times and were just trying to maintain a steady pace without taking risks. The car feels really good and there is a lot more to come because right now the car is faster than me."

Read, the outright winner of the season's first two speed events, looked set to do so again in the Sprite / Stihl / Gliptone / Hankook / Weetabix / Chutney's / Urban Kitchen / Cell Hut / Cockspur Toyota Starlet; he was six-tenths ahead on the first run from Four Hills to Orange Hill, after Swann had failed to leave the line promptly, with Andrew Mallalieu (Terra Caribbean Impreza N10) and Roger Hill (Esso / Nassco / MotorMac / Pennzoil Toyota Corolla WRC) another three or so seconds adrift.

Read's rally soon started to unravel, however: "On SS2, the left side back shock broke, so we had to drive SS3 like that. My service crew did a MacGyver fix, but then the right side broke and we had to fix that up, too. We then overheated at the end of SS5 but we were able to rectify it by lunch."

Despite his issues, Read was still second at lunch, 11secs behind Swann, with Hill and Mallalieu respectively 17 and 21secs adrift; the top six was completed by Roger Mayers (Chefette / Digicel / Sol / DHL / Illusion Graphics / Hankook WR Starlet) and Dane Skeete (Sol / Flow / Automotive Art / Williams Trading Inc Peugeot 306 Maxi), both making up ground after finishing stage one in the lower half of the top 10. Read, Mayers and Skeete were swapping times back and forth, all regularly in the top three overall.

Despite a spin on the penultimate stage, which cost him around 7secs of what had been a 20secs lead – Mayers claimed his only stage win of the day on that run - Swann had enough in hand to win, while Read maintained his run of SuperModified 2 wins, with Mayers, Skeete and Hill completing the top five. Mayers said: "It was a tough rally and I gave away 40secs or so between some driver and mechanical errors. Needless to say it was good to shake off the cobwebs. I think we have cured the gremlins of the past and I'm confident heading into KotH and Sol RB."

The winners of Modified 2 and M1 respectively, Daryl Clarke (Honda Civic) and Neil Corbin (Starlet) showed prodigious pace to finish sixth and seventh overall, each having set at least one time in the top five, while the Group N trio completed the top 10, Mallalieu beating Mark Thompson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) by just two-tenths, with Trinidad & Tobago's David Coelho (Evo IX) third.

Coelho was more fortunate than the other regional entries, Stan Hartling (BMW M3) and Paul Horton (Ford Escort MkI) of the Turks & Caicos Islands, who both failed to make the start. There were also challenging debuts for reigning BPMSI circuit racing Champion Jermin Pope (Honda Civic), multiple kart racing Champion Orry Hunte (Mitsubishi Lancer) and MudDogs graduate Kevin-Jon Manning (Peugeot 106 Rallye), all of whom retired.

Sunoco Shakedown Stages - Sunday, April 23
Official results:

1st Rob Swann – ENG/Sean Gill (WRC Elegant Hotels / Blue Sky Luxury / Cygnet Plant Subaru Impreza WRC S12B), 22m 58.85s
2nd Josh Read/Mark Jordan (SM2 Sprite / Stihl / Gliptone / Hankook / Weetabix / Chutney's / Urban Kitchen / Cell Hut / Cockspur Toyota Starlet), + 13.17s
3rd Roger Mayers/Sean Corbin (SM2 Chefette / Digicel / Sol / DHL / Illusion Graphics / Hankook WR Starlet), + 35.30s
4th Dane Skeete/Tyler Mayhew (SM2 Sol / Flow / Automotive Art / Williams Trading Inc Peugeot 306 Maxi), + 37.14s
5th Roger Hill/Graham Gittens (WRC Esso / Nassco / MotorMac / Pennzoil Toyota Corolla WRC), + 44.68s
6th Daryl Clarke/Russell Brancker (M2 Roberts Manufacturing / Amir's Chicken / Valvoline / MQI Collision Repair Honda Civic), + 1m 12.77s
7th Neil Corbin/Matthew Staffner (M1 Nassco / Jason Jones / Auto Solutions / Emtage Electric / BG Products & Services / Valvoline Toyota Starlet), + 1m 16.14s
8th Andrew Mallalieu/Geoff Goddard (GpN Terra Caribbean Subaru Impreza N10), + 1m 16.79s
9th Mark Thompson/Kurt Seabra - GUY (GpN Rock Hard Cement / Stag Beer / Automotive Art / NKM Clothing / Bio-Beauty Day Spa / Slam 101.1FM / Versatile Construction / Glassesco Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), + 1m 17.02s
10th David Coelho – TRI/James Harris – ENG (GpN Zanzibar / Kaizan Sushi / VP Fuels / Total Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX), + 1m 24.52s
WRC: 1st Swann/Gill; 2nd Hill/Gittens, + 44.68s
Group N: 1st Mallalieu/Goddard, 24m 15.64s; 2nd Thompson/Seabra, + 00.23s; 3rd Coelho/Harris, + 7.73s
SuperModified 3: 1st Rhett Watson/James Hutchinson (Chefette / Carter's Pitstop / Stihl / Gliptone / The Unknown Entity in support of Little Pink Gift BMW M3), 24m 46.85s – 11th overall; 2nd David St Hill/Ian Grimes (Solar Wind & Energy Solutions / Liqui Moly / Bimmer Specialist BMW M3), + 1m 06.92s
SM2: 1st Read/Jordan, 23m 12.02s; 2nd Mayers/Corbin, + 22.13s; 3rd Skeete/Mayhew, + 23.97s; etc
SM1: 1st Edward Corbin/Rodney Clarke (Automotive Art / Pro Sales / KlarkOdio / Hilti Daihatsu Charmant), 25m 54.82s – 14th o/a
Modified 2: 1st Clarke/Brancker, 24m 11.62s; 2nd Jamal Brathwaite/Dario Hoyte (Platinum Motors Collision Repair / Valvoline / Automotive Art / Consumers Guarantee Insurance / JSB Motorsport / Ellesmere Quarries Honda Civic Type-R), + 1m 36.10s; 3rd Freddie Gale/Kyle Proverbs (Gale's Hatcheries / Nassco Toyota Corolla RunX), + 2m 35.87s; etc
M1: 1st Corbin/Staffner, 24m 14.99s; 2nd Wayne Archer/Derek Edwards (Archers Hall Design Centre / RW Water Peugeot 206), + 2m 16.43s
Historic 2: 1st John Corbin/Owen Proverbs (Automotive Art / Pro Sales / KlarkOdio / Hilti Toyota Corolla), 29m 48.27s – 21st o/a
Clubman 2: 1st Greg Cozier/Natasha Farnum (Hyundai Trucks / BimmaCup BMW 318ti), 28m 31.41s – 19th o/a; 2nd Paul Inniss/Selena Kirton (Durex / East Point Grill / The Chicken Shop Inc / Hugh Auto Body / Sun General Insurance / Drive-A-Matic Car Rentals / Caribbean Villa Chefs / JJ Racing Team / Illusion Graphics Honda Civic), + 20.22s
C1: 1st Pierre Clarke/Ezra Gibbs (SDRR Hydraulics & Industrial Spares Honda Civic), 28m 16.32s – 18th o/a; 2nd Rommell Martin/Rashid Phillips (Winston Enterprises / Kola Kick / Slam Condoms / Fusion Boutique / B3 Imaging / VV&K Rentals Ltd / Candy Lane Toyota Starlet), + 2m 38.28s

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