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British Pioneer Back for Sol Rally Barbados
Record flow of entries puts pressure on places

The Barbados Rally Club's (BRC) 20th Anniversary celebrations of the inaugural running of its International All-Stage Rally have been further boosted this week with confirmation that the first British driver to compete on the event has entered Sol Rally Barbados 2010 . . . and he's bringing some friends with him!

Howard Paterson's ninth-place finish in his Volkswagen Golf GTI in 1991 was the first overseas result, although fellow-Brit Kevin Furber had enjoyed ‘guest driver' status the previous year as Zero Car in local engineer and competitor Simon Gilmore's Peugeot 205; along with co-driver Dave Crawford, Furber won a trophy for the "spirited driving as course car".

In a career spanning nearly 30 years since he finished ninth in a Volvo 240 in the 1983 Himalayan Rally, Paterson has contested more than 100 International rallies; his CV includes iconic events such as the London to Mexico, London to Sydney and the Safari, and he has won championship titles as both co-driver (1985 British GpB 1600) and driver (1999 Middle East F2, 2006 FIA Dubai RallySprint).

Paterson recalls: "My claim to fame is that I am the only driver to have rallied on both the highest (Peru) and lowest stages in the world – the Dead Sea stages in Jordan." All that experience has led him to become one of the most sought-after driver coaches in the business, particularly in the Middle East.

For Sol RB2010, he is entered in the Group N Skoda Fabia in which he and wife Ruth finished 23rd overall in the Caminos Del Inca Rally in Peru in 2007; not only were they the first British crew to finish one of the toughest events in the world since the late Tony Fall won it in 1968, but Ruth was also the first woman ever to do so.

Ruth, who won the Middle East F2 Co-Driver title in 1999, admits to being the driving force behind their trip to the Caribbean: "After having heat exhaustion in the Middle East and been close to altitude sickness in Peru, I really fancy the idea of Barbados. Its just a pity there are no stages on the beach, as we're absolutely ace on sand."

Close friends and team-mates Simon Nutter and Fiona Udale are also making the trip to Barbados, bringing the second of three Fabis that were built to identical spec; they were in Peru in 2007 as well, although they did not have such good fortune, thanks to a blown engine.

In common with Paterson, Nutter is a former Middle East F2 Champion, while wife Fiona was British Ladies Middle East Rally Champion in 1995 in the days when they campaigned a Peugeot 205 GTi; Nutter still rallies regularly in the region and finished eighth in last year's Dubai International Rally in his Group N Subaru Impreza WRX.

Of the forthcoming trip to Barbados, Nutter says: "My first impressions of the rally so far are just brilliant - everyone I've spoken to in the UK and worldwide have said I must do this event. Having a small-capacity Group N car may not seem too exciting, but put Howard and myself - not to mention the wives - into identical cars and it always produces fireworks!"

Record flow of entries puts pressure on places

With entries flowing in at a record average of three every day for the past week, the entry list for Sol Rally Barbados 2010 is fast filling up; last week's total of 48 entries received on-line has grown to 69 - just 21 short of the capacity entry of 90, this total has been achieved a remarkable eight weeks earlier than last year.

Good news for the organisers, especially viewed against the background of the current economic climate, is that the overseas entry is maintaining healthy percentages within the total; the current balance is 16 International and a further five from around the region, with one or two key regional names not yet on the list.

A delighted Rally Chairman Barry Gale said: "The past few days have been remarkable – we had four entries within an hour of last week's media release in which I urged competitors to go on line and enter, and there are still some very obvious names who have not yet done so. I know that I have said this before, but it is becoming clearer by the day - anyone who wishes to enter, either from Barbados or overseas, needs to go on-line to to do so very, very soon!"

Sol Rally Barbados (May 29/30) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 23) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB2010 marks the 20th Anniversary of the inaugural running of the Club's International All-Stage Rally.