Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes will head to Ulster next weekend for the next two rounds of the BRC Challenge championship knowing that back to back wins are vital to keep in the title race.
After winning the BRC Challenge crown last year Sykes has suffered mixed fortunes in 2013 with problems on each of the three events he has contested in his Bathams Brewery, G I Sykes Ltd, Silverstone Tyres and Boroughbridge Marina-supported Citroën C2 R2 Max.
He goes into the Ulster double-header in third place in the championship so two maximum scores are needed ahead of the final two rounds in September and October.
“It’s been a frustrating season for me so far,” said Sykes. “We’ve been on the pace but circumstances have conspired against us. We had a misfire on the Pirelli which cost us a win, we were leading on the Jim Clark before going off and not being able to battle back due to a lot of stages being cancelled and on the Scottish we were set for a second place finish when a puncture dropped us down the leaderboard.”
“We’ve been fortunate that the championship rewards good class finishes so despite the disappointing overall results we’ve still managed to score enough points to see us in third place in the title race."
“I only have one goal for Ulster and that is to win both events. I did it last year and I won the double event on the Isle of Man in 2007 too so it can be done. With two forest rounds to go after Ulster we need the wins to have a chance of the title. We’d still be relying on the results of others but I can’t control that.”
“We recently found a problem with the car which caused the misfire on the Pirelli and it must have affected me all year so far. A blanking grub screw had fallen out of the back of the inlet plenum in a place that could not be seen. We found it by accident. This has been costing me around 15 horsepower as well as causing the niggle of a misfire.”
“We are going to Ulster feeling very optimistic and ready for a big push to get the two wins on our preferred surface of the tight twisty tarmac lanes of Enniskillen.”
The rally takes place on 23/24 August with a separate BRC Challenge event on each day.
Image courtesy Tom Murphy