Stephen Wright has reached the end of his hectic April schedule that saw him tackle 3 rallies in 3 weekends in Ireland and Belgium behind the wheel of his Peugeot 208 R2.
Stephen’s first event of the month saw him travel to the TAC Rally in Belgium, which is based around the town of Tielt. Despite challenging roads and foggy conditions on some of the stages, Stephen with elder sister Susanne on the pacenotes, finished a brilliant 16th overall and 2nd among the Peugeot 208 Rally Trophy runners. As an added bonus, Stephen also won the junior driver of the rally award.
From the roads of West Flanders the Wright Rally cavalcade then travelled all the way back home to take part in the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally. The event was a counting round of the Junior European Championship and after a troublesome opening day, Stephen and Susanne eventually climbed to 4th place, narrowly missing out on a podium among a truly international field of drivers from Norway, Britain, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland and Belgium.
Finally, it was back to Belgium to compete in the Rallye de Wallonie where Stephen faced a massive challenge with 25 cars entered in his class. Due to work commitments Susanne sat out the rally but a replacement was found in the form of experienced navigator Karl Atkinson and he guided Stephen to 8th in class and 5th among the Peugeot Trophy winners. With every mile on the Belgian roads Stephen is continually learning and is looking forward to the remainder of the season.
“That was a pretty hectic month and each rally produced very different challenges. We have learned so much along the way and also produced some good results against very tough competition. The entire team have done such a fantastic job to keep the car in shape for each event and also Susanne and Karl for keeping me between the hedges and ditches. To be sitting in 3rd place in the 208 Trophy is also a massive bonus. Next up for is Ypres which is a round of both the Junior European Rally Trophy and also the 208 Rally Trophy and it can’t come soon enough!!”
Stephen is the current Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year and is supported by the Irish Sports Council.Read more →
Wright Rallying is proud to announce that it has joined forces with Northern Ireland’s leading renewables company, Solmatix. Solmatix will support Stephen and Susanne’s efforts on the upcoming Circuit of Ireland Rally as well the Ulster Rally in August.
Founded in 2008 by managing director Richard Bell, Solmatix have grown to become the leading solar panel company in Northern Ireland with an increasing portfolio of clients and contracts in the domestic, commercial, agriculture and volume housing sectors throughout the UK and Ireland. Bell, himself a former rally co-driver, is delighted to team up with Wright Rallying. “The Circuit of Ireland and Ulster rallies offer massive exposure for Solmatix and we believe pairing up with a young, successful crew like Stephen and Susanne is an effective way to raise our profile.”
Likewise, Stephen is similarly delighted to be associated with Solmatix. “I’m very thankful for Solmatix’s backing for the Circuit of Ireland and Ulster rallies. As I’m competing abroad for the majority of this season, the backing from Solmatix will allow me to tackle two high profile local events which is very important to me. Solmatix are an emerging, successful company and are an ideal fit for Wright Rallying.”
You can see the Solmatix Peugeot 208 R2 in action on the Circuit of Ireland this weekend and on the Ulster Rally which takes place on the 15th and 16th of August. You can find out more about Solmatix by vising their website at www.solmatix.com.Read more →
The Wright Rally team are about to enter the busiest month of their 2014 campaign which will see Stephen and Susanne take on 3 rallies in as many weekends. This weekend sees the pair and their Peugeot 208 R2 head to Belgium for the latest round of the BFO Belgian Rally Championship when they tackle the TAC Rally which is a counting round of the 208 Rally Trophy.
After Belgium, it’s back to home soil for the Circuit of Ireland Rally, which takes place over the Easter weekend. With European Championship status this year, the Circuit has attracted a healthy R2 entry and Stephen and Susanne are seeded right in the heat of the battle at number 20 surrounded by Italian, Polish, Dutch, Czech and Norwegian crews. With the Circuit done and dusted the siblings then head back to Belgium for the next round of the 208 Rally Trophy on the Rallye de Wallonie, a tough 3 day, 21 stage event.
It’s going to be a very busy 21 days with rallies, recces and ferries but it is a challenge that Stephen is looking forward to. “It’ll be a busy month but we can’t wait to get started. Being honest, it will be a challenge in itself to even make the start line of the 3 events but we’ll drive with that in mind and hopefully we’ll be in the mix for some good results in very competitive fields. To test our speed against European Championship regulars on the Circuit will be a real bonus.”
You can follow Stephen and Susanne on Twitter @StephenWr1ght and @SusanneWright15. Stephen is the current Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year and is supported by the Killyhevlin Hotel and Health Club, Spanwright and The Irish Sports Council.Read more →
Despite treacherous conditions, Stephen and Susanne Wright made it to the finish of the Haspengouw Rally last weekend and the pair brought their Peugeot 208 R2 home in 29th overall and 4th in class.
Based around the town of Landen, The Haspengouw Rally was the first of the 8 round Belgian Rally Championship which Stephen and Susanne plan to contest this season so it was crucial that they got off to an encouraging start. Stephen, the reigning Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year, takes up the story;
“We surprised even ourselves on the opening stage, setting fastest time on possibly the most slippy road surface I have ever seen. Unfortunately this was the highlight. We picked up a puncture on SS2 and had a number of spins on SS3 dropping us back the order and breaking our momentum. We picked ourselves back up in first service; setting a string of top three stage times through to the finish of the event, interrupted only by a front left and right puncture on SS6 and another puncture on SS12. We were disappointed to miss out on a good result but on the plus side our pace was promising, we have learned a lot and are feeling much better prepared prior to the opening round of the 208 Rally Trophy in 6 weeks’ time.”
The next Belgian round the Wright Rally Team plan to contest is the TAC Rally on April 12th but they may possibly squeeze in another Irish event to gain more competitive miles in the Killyhevlin Hotel Peugeot. “We are still adjusting to and learning the new car. It really is such a huge transition from the Mitsubishi’s we have been used to but we love every second of it and are so impressed with the car. Ideally we’d like to take in one more Irish event to leave us better prepared for the Circuit of Ireland in April which is also a counting round of the Junior European Rally Championship but we will take some time to let the dust settle before making a decision”said Susanne.
This weekend marks the beginning of Stephen and Susanne Wright’s European adventure as the pair get ready to tackle the Haspengouw Rally, the opening round of the BFO Belgian Rally Championship.
Stephen, who is the current Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year, is keen to build on his recent successes in Ireland and feels the Belgian championship can provide the challenge he is looking for in 2014. Speaking this week Stephen said: “European tarmac is extremely specialised and the roads in Belgium even more-so, not to mention the high standard of competition out there. We are venturing outside our comfort zone but looking forward to a new challenge and developing our skills as the year progresses.”
Accompanying Stephen will be his sister Susanne who will call the all-important pacenotes and they will play a key role on the tricky Belgian roads over the weekend. Susanne takes up the story. “Although most of my job will be largely the same as at home there will be a bit of a language barrier to deal with and some differences in the operations of time controls. A lot of people have helped and offered advice in the run up to the event so hopefully all the planning will pay off!”
The Haspengouw Rally is based in the town of Landen in central Belgium and the Wright Rally Team will land there late on Thursday evening ahead of scrutineering on Friday before the rally starts in earnest on Saturday. The event will consist of 13 tricky stages and should provide a stern test for Stephen and Susanne who are keen to get their championship campaign off to a steady start in the Killyhevlin Hotel and Irish Sports Council backed Peugeot 208 R2.
(pic with thanks to Seamus Counihan of www.crspics.com)
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