Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Panton apprehensive about Rally Barbados

Published:Friday | October 9, 2020 | 12:10 AMLennox Aldred/Gleaner Writer
Jeffrey Panton and Mike Fennell Jr’s Ford Fiesta WRC rally car.
Jeffrey Panton and Mike Fennell Jr’s Ford Fiesta WRC rally car.
Local rally driver Jeffrey Panton.
Local rally driver Jeffrey Panton.
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Four-time Sol Rally Barbados champion Jeffrey Panton is set for a return as he has been confirmed to take part in this year’s event, which runs from October 31 to November 1.

Panton, who crashed at last year’s event, says he is a little less confident this time around, having not had enough seat time since the incident.

“I am not so confident, given the fact that our last time out was a major accident,” he said. “We also have a new car, and we are still trying to get back some confidence in the car, especially on the very high-speed sections, where I have been a little hesitant. We hope to work through some of the issues with our engineers, and hopefully, we will be back up to speed in time for the event.”

The 2020 edition of the rally will be different from previous years with the organisers moving from three days down to stages on the Saturday and Sunday.

The tarmac event will cover roughly 100 kilometres on closed public roads with three loops of three special stages each day visiting nearly all of the island’s 12 parishes.

MORE MOMENTUM

Panton and co-driver Mike Fennell Jr will be hoping that the one-day event that they competed in Barbados in August will give them some momentum as they go after their fifth rally title.

“There are a lot of new stages, which is going to make it very interesting all around,” he said. “Apart from the four WRC (World Rally Championship) cars, we have the R5 Class, which is very competitive and similar to the WRC cars, but they just lack a little power, but they have proven to be very quick on those roads.”

Panton, who will be competing in his new Ford Fiesta WRC, is expected to face a stiff challenge from American rally driver Ken Block and double British rally champion Matt Edwards, who will be part of the Turks and Caicos rally team with driver Paul Horton.

The WRC category will also feature Scotland’s Fraser Louden, who will be driving his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Proto, and Barbadian Dan Skeete, in his Subaru Impreza.