The Pro-Align backed historic rally team won their first major event, the Glens of Antrim Rally, a round of the Northern Ireland Rally Championship, on 6th May.
There was a strong field in the Historic class, with an array of late 1970’s works specification cars, including Mk2 Ford Escort RS1800’s, a 3 litre Porsche 911 and a Lotus Sunbeam, with all of the top teams capable of winning the Historic category.
Philip Wylie started the event with a new navigator, Lewis Dunlop, alongside him. Lewis who is just 19 years old, is an apprentice at Charles Hurst dealership in Belfast and a big fan of its user-friendly Hunter wheel aligner system, supplied by Pro-Align. This was Lewis’s first closed road event, so he was nervous ahead of what he knew would be a baptism of fire.
The event included two runs over Torr Head, a famous, roller coaster road which Citroen works WRC rally driver Craig Breen described as “just incredible” and a stage “he would never forget” when he won the 2016 Circuit of Ireland Rally. The Pro-Align crew loved the Torr Head stage and were 1 sec per mile faster than their nearest rival, over the 8-mile test, clocking an average speed just short of 60mph.
After the first loop of three stages, the Pro-Align team were pleased but somewhat surprised to be lying second, just a few seconds behind the leader, in the Historic category. They were confident that they could go faster on the second and final loop of three stages, however, on leaving service the car suddenly developed a concerning noise. This turned out to be the starter motor failing, which meant that the crew could not afford to stall the car as that would mean Rally Over! The crew concentrated on the job in hand and went quicker over stages 4 and 5 and dropping just one second on the second run over Torr Head, securing the winning position for the very happy yet relieved winners.
Readers can see the action from the in-car camera on the following link