In Co-ordSport Blog
Paul Alexander came, saw, and conquered in style as he and co-driver Jakes Kelly lifted the spoils on the opening round of the 2003 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge at Rallye Sunseeker in Bournemouth. Herts. driver Alexander also takes the lead in the Production class of the Kumho National Rally Championship after a faultless showing on the Bournemouth based event.
Promax Motorsport run Alexander was using the event as a pre cursor to a committed assault on the British Rally Championship this season. The well promoted South coast event provided the Kings Langley driver an excellent opportunity to gain experience of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII, whilst comparing his pace against arguably one of the strongest Production class fields seen in years.
Straight from the off, Paul was settling in well with Irish co-driver Kelly, on board for only the second time. The combination of forest and then tarmac stages caused headaches for many crews, but Alexander was pleased to be on the pace of the leading front runners in the Evolution Challenge after the early exchanges, and led the category by two seconds at first service.
Rivals Brendan Crealey and Richard Davies both suffered mechanical problems during the day, but the immaculate Promax Motorsport built machine never faltered, as Alexander increased his lead yet further once the rally hit the gravel stages.
Despite a spirited fightback from Crealey in his identical car, Paul maintained his composure to record a debut win in the Challenge and also took maximum Group N/Production points in the Kumho National Rally Championship in the process. Alexander was a happy man indeed at the rally finish, as he celebrated a twenty seven second victory:
“Its been a fantastic day today. Apart from having to skate over some of the ruts in the afternoon stages, we had a great time in the car. I was surprised to come into the Evolution Challenge as a newcomer and be so competitive straight away.
I certainly hope its the start of a good run of results in the car. We’ve not pushed too hard today, and have just concentrated on avoiding trouble and making sure that the car came back in one piece. I really am delighted with this result, especially with the strength of the competition around me.”
Yokohama and Coordsport backed Alexander will now contest the International Rally of Wales on March 22nd-23rd. The two day Welsh classic in the legendary forests of North and Mid Wales will be a stern test of Alexander’s preparations for a full attack on the Production Cup of the British Rally Championship.
Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Round 1 – Results:
1st Paul Alexander/Jakes Kelly – 1:14.22.4
2nd Brendan Crealey/Steve Harris – 1:14.50.2
3rd Anthony Willmington/Andrew White – 1:15.19.9
4th Mike Brown/Aled Davies – 1:15.38.5
5th Kevin Stevens/Stuart Foley – 1:15.43.9
Paul Alexander was supported on the event by Yokohama/Coordsport, Promax Motorsport and Alpine Stars.