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Dunbabin’s whistle into fifth on the ‘Dean

Rallyschool.co.uk backed twins Daniel and Clive Dunbabin got their 2003 season off to a solid start as they claimed 5th in Group N on the Wyedean Rally this weekend, after setting a top three times throughout an action packed day. They also finished first car home of a three car RallySchool.co.uk team assault on the event.

The 27 year old Warrington brothers were piloting their ex-David Higgins Subaru Impreza WRX on the Chepstow event, and immediately signalled their intentions by setting second fastest Group N time on the first forest stage of the event – just one second off the best time after 10 miles of competition.

The start line of stage three was to give the Drivertime backed duo a scare however, as the car struggled to move off the startline of the stage with a clutch problem. With lots of revs and not much forward motion, the only option was to cruise through the stage to try and fix the problem at the end. At emergency service, the clutch was repaired and the ever willing service team also spotted a cracked brake disc on the Impreza.

With the offending items repaired, the brothers reached the mid point service at Chepstow Racecourse in a disappointing ninth in Group N. As the mechanics finally sorted the clutch problem in readiness for the afternoon stages, Dan was desperate to claim a Top 5 spot before the end of the rally.

After a brief spin whilst trying a little too hard to make up lost time cost another 15 seconds on the seventh stage, Daniel rolled up his sleeves for the last few stages. Despite another brake disc problem on the final stage, the twins powered home the Impreza to 5th in class and a bagful of BTRDA Championship points.

As Dan explains, the top 5 placing could easily have been a podium finish but for the minor problems:

“I have to be happy with fifth as it means we have points on the board and the car is unmarked. I’m delighted that when we did have a clear run through the stages, we were right on the Group N pace and regularly in the top 3 times. Its very pleasing considering the limited time we have spent in the car before the event. Without the spin and the clutch problem, we would certainly have been 3rd which would have been an excellent start to the season. That said, I’m very happy with our progress today and it bodes well for the next round.

Obviously there are things we need to look at with the car, particularly the brakes and the clutch. We’ll also have the car mapped for Turbo fuel for the next event, which should give us a bit more power as well. I think a Top 3 finish has to be the aim for the Malcolm Wilson Rally, as both Clive and myself enjoy the stages and we know them reasonably well. Thanks to the support of Rallyschool.co.uk and Drivertime, we should be bang on the pace in Group N from now on in the BTRDA series.”

The brother’s next outing is the Malcolm Wilson Rally in Cockermouth, Cumbria, on March 8th. The rally uses the Grizedale and Whinlatter forests and is the second round of the BTRDA Rally Championship.