Sky Sports News’ F1 analyst Tony Jardine and Olympic skeleton gold medallist Amy Williams MBE had a settled start to the second day of action at Wales Rally GB yesterday (15 November) in the final round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). The first stage of the second leg, Hafren 1, caught many competitors out including former F1 driver Robert Kubica, but the ProSpeed duo kept their cool and made good progress.
The second stage of the day was Sweet Lamb, one of the classic stages of British rallying. At just over 4km, it is a short but technical stage with many jumps. By this point Tony and Amy were working really well as a team and were able to enjoy the natural amphitheatre of Sweet Lamb, as crowds lined the hill sides to watch the action.
Another famous Welsh classic, Myherin, was the third stage on Friday’s schedule. This 32km stretch saw Tony and Amy gain a position to third in their class. It was then time for a regroup in the remote Service Area at Newtown. Fans flocked to see the WRC stars as the teams worked on their cars. Anything that could not be fixed at the remote Service Area spelled the end of the day for those crews.
All three stages were repeated in the afternoon, and Tony and Amy were able to enjoy it all the more second time around. They were pushing harder now and despite a few moments, they finished the second day of competition second in class and 27th overall.
Amy Williams commented: “It’s amazing. The fans are great, there’s support everywhere, even in the Service Park. Rallying has such a big supporting community and they have really welcomed me in to that. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. It has been quite an eye opener compared to the national rallies, nothing compares with it. I’m just so happy to be here. I really enjoyed the stages today [Friday] and we kept getting better and better. I loved Sweet Lamb with all the jumps, it was really good fun. It made a real difference doing all the stages twice today as we were really flowing the second time around. It’s more than exceeded my expectations, although fatigue is now creeping in!”
Tony Jardine said: “It was a tremendous day, the world’s best are here and we’re holding our own. The stages have to be driven to be believed, they are world championship stages, it is the Rally of Legends and it’s long and tough, as it should be at this level.
“We were both suffering from a shortage of sleep but the adrenalin has kicked in. The first stages were very, very slippy and we struggled a bit but in the last three stages we made some adjustments and Amy was tremendous and she was really enjoying it, especially over the jumps at Sweet Lamb. We were getting better and better. Then I was pushing more but I had a couple of moments where I hit a couple of rocks and thought it must be at least a puncture but the Kumho tyres were amazing and stood up to the abuse. Credit to ProSpeed and the team and Raymond Mason who owns the Mitsubishi, the car has had some big knocks and landed on its nose a few times but it’s still going well. We hope we can keep it like that.”
Tony and Amy have set off this morning from the Wales Rally GB Service Park in Deeside to the first special stage of the third leg, Gartheiniog 1, with Dyfi, Dyfnant and Chirk Castle also due to challenge competitors today.