Rhys Pinter - Shows Commitment in the Pirelli Rally
Australian Rally Driver, Rhys Pinter unfortunately endured another frustrating event at the Pirelli International Rally in Carlisle, Round 3 of the British Rally Championship. With budget already at a stretch, Rhys was out to prove what he is capable of and hopefully secure funding for further championship rounds.
Throughout the notoriously tough rally the pairing had to overcome a number woes ranging from multiple punctures to rock damage, which culminated in a locked rear wheel spearing Rhys and co-driver Phil Hall into a ditch and out of the Rally.
The event started off with an encouraging top ten junior time, despite a game plan of going in easy to begin with.
‘Our aim as to finish and you don’t win rallies on stage 1 so we got into the rhythm. Yeah maybe a bit slow but ss2 we really started to get a roll on’, said Pinter.
The crew soon got back into the class winning synch they formed at WRC Australia last year, but a locked rear wheel halfway into SS2 sent them careering into one of the infamous Kielder Forest ditches. Despite losing ten minutes extricating the car, they were determined to stay in the Rally and fight for those all important BRC points. With the Pirelli Rally, it isn't over until the very last stage.
‘We managed to get back to service where we looked at the car and got going again. Unfortunately we had more dramas when we turned up to control we had a flat, which meant we lost a bit of time changing it.’
Stage 3 was much better as the pair settled into the groove, with Rhys making some great speed catching the cars in front, until another puncture slowed them yet again.
The last stage of the day was by far the most challenging for Rhys and Phil, as a third puncture caused by a locking rear wheel meant the pair had to slow to a crawl for the final few Kilometres.
‘It was such a positive day that then threw everything at us, we had punctures, had breakages, got stuck and yet still finished the day.’ said a positive Rhys.
Rhys and Phil finished the day at 10th in class but knew they were quicker than some of the drivers in front and could make a push and gain some positions on the Sunday.
They came into Sunday with a new attitude to enjoy the day and pull some positions back. However the drama started even on the first road section with the rear wheels locking causing major handling problems. Despite efforts to solve the problem by the crew, the rear wheels locked again mid-stage and the pair were passengers straight into another ditch - this time irretrievably.
‘It was so frustrating and disappointing, we were having another good run and again something out of my control has caused another DNF’.
Co driver Phil Hall comments; 'This Rally is notorious for its demanding nature, and we've had every bit of it. It's unfortunate how things worked out, just as Rhys was getting a good flow on something else would knock us down - but that is rallying, and if nothing else I hope we've proved our dedication and determination to succeed.'
There were encouraging signs with officials messaging Rhys saying that he was amongst the committed of the junior drivers through sections of stages.
Due to the DNF, this looks like Rhys’ last foray in the UK for 2016 at least, he aims to return to Australia to test a few 4wd cars and potentially run one at a local rally before deciding on further plans. He will be back behind the wheel on his own Fiesta R2 at his home WRC round Rally Australia later in the year, looking to emulate his class win from last year.