By Paul Evans
Bob Fowden’s return to rallying after almost a year out of the sport ended in mixed fortunes on the Altratech SMC Stages at Anglesey Circuit yesterday.
The Llanelli driver started well, setting joint fastest times on the opening two stages in his Comline Auto Parts/NGK-backed Subaru Impreza WRC S11 – in what was the ex-Petter Solberg machine’s first appearance since a fire on the Manx National Rally last May forced a major rebuild.
However, when the car started to smoke on stage three, Fowden and his co-driving son Paul quickly pulled the Subaru off to the side of the road. Initial investigations suggest that the smoke was caused by an errant oil seal on the brand new turbo allowing oil to leak onto the hot engine – nothing too serious, if not a little worrying at the time.
The car will be checked and prepared for the forthcoming double-header round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, the Masterpixel Media Manx National Rally (10-11 May).
Anglesey regulars Dave Willett/John Davies won the SMC Stages in their Escort Mk2, beating John and Alex Stone (Fiesta WRC) by nine seconds. Robert Hughes/Sion Cunniff were third in a Fiesta R5, while defending JD Tyres Welsh National Tarmacadam Champions Richard Merriman/Kath Curzon were fourth in their The Roof Hub, Touchline and Gareth Swan Roofing backed Darrian T90.