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Famous Name Mehta for Sol Rally Barbados
More details confirmed for Automotive Art Shakedown Stages

Sol Rally Barbados 2010 (May 29/30), which marks the 20th Anniversary of the inaugural running of the Barbados Rally Club's (BRC) International All-Stage Rally, is heading for a record in the number of women entered - the total is now close to 20, with one of the World Rally Championship's most successful female competitors, Yvonne Mehta, bringing an internationally-recognised name to the event.

Yvonne travels to Barbados to co-drive for New Zealander Rob Whitehouse, who previously lived in the island, in his Lancia Delta Integrale; she was twice a podium finisher in the WRC – third in the Acropolis in 1978, second in Argentina in 1981 – among 13 top 10 WRC finishes as co-driver to her late husband, the legendary five-time Safari Rally winner and former President of the FIA Rallies Commission Shekhar Mehta.

The Lancia, an Abarth works-specification Group N car, was built in 1989; it was campaigned for just one season in the UK by Yorkshireman Pete Slights, who had won the Esso Metro Superchallenge the previous year in his MG Metro 6R4. Slights, who visited Barbados in 2001 with Ireland's Dennis Biggerstaff, whose 6R4 he prepared, was co-driven in the Lancia by another name familiar to island motor sport fans, Champion - in this instance Joyce, mother of regular island competitor Ryan.

Thereafter, the Lancia was stored and remained unused until it was re-commissioned in 2008; it is now prepared for Whitehouse by Sweep Motorsport, based in the British Midlands town of Nuneaton.

Whitehouse started competing in his native New Zealand in 1980, racing in Group A touring cars, historics and Formula Ford. After a 15-year retirement, he took up rallying in 2005, mostly in classic and historic events in Europe, where he now lives.

Co-driver Mehta's interest in motor sport dates back to her days as a kart racer in the UK, but her professional co-driving status began almost by accident; having helped Shekhar prepare for Kenya's gruelling Safari Rally as the recce co-driver, a chance offer of a works drive in Portugal in 1974 started the driver/co-driver partnership. She says: "We came seventh, and thereafter did every event together (except the Safari) and continued to be a team for many, many years without having one cross word."

In addition to the top three finishes, their WRC results included a further 11 top 10s, just missing out on podiums with fourth places in Argentina (1980, '83 & 85), the Acropolis (1982 & '85) and New Zealand (1983); outside the WRC, they won the Cyprus Rally, Indonesia Rally and Malaysia Rally, also the Middle East Rally Championship.

Mehta says: "I am really looking forward to coming to Barbados to do your rally. I hung up my helmet in 1991 after my son Vijay was born, but I was enticed back to co-drive a few years ago in historic events, initially by Tony Fall, then Steve Rockingham . . . and I am eternally grateful to them both. I haven't sat with Rob before, but I am looking forward to the trip very much."

More details confirmed for Automotive Art Shakedown Stages

The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) has confirmed further details about the Automotive Art Shakedown Stages, which will be staged on Sunday, April 25. Some dates and times differ from information previously circulated:

+ Scrutineering will now be staged on Saturday (April 24) between 1.00pm and 5.00pm, at Automotive Art's Wildey premises; competitors are required to arrive no later than 2.30pm. Food and drink will be on sale, and spectators are encouraged to attend
+ the Briefing Meeting will be held on Thursday (April 22) at 7.00pm, at the Barbados Clay Target Shooting Association Clubhouse at Searles, Christ Church
+ the Sunday (April 25) start time has been revised to 8.00am from Automotive Art's Welches, St Michael, premises, with the finish slated for approximately 4.30pm at Black Bess Quarry in St Peter
+ the service area will be Greenland Agricultural Station, St Andrew

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.