Belgian Rally Championship driver Bradley Howlett looking to repeat his great result at Spa to make up for disappointing start
Bradley Howlett is looking to make up for the disappointment of not finishing the first round of the 2020 Belgian Rally Championship when he sets off in the Spa Rally tomorrow.
The Lavenham-based driver pulled off some eye-catching results in a less powerful car, a Citroen C2 R2, in his first full season in the series which benefits from worldwide television coverage.
Topping the list was his class win, coming 20th overall, on his first time from the rally based at the iconic Belgian Grand Circuit at Spa, which also uses the surrounding roads.
Fast forward 12 months and he has high hopes of a repeat performance after changing to a Peugeot 208 R2, even if the opening rally, at Haspengouw, ended in disappointment alongside his familiar co-driver Nick Vandevenne.
Howlett, who only received his new car ahead of stripping and re-building it in January, explained: “The first stage was fairly eventful tip-toeing through and trying to learn the new car. That proved eventful though, as I was concentrating so hard I wasn’t listening properly to Nick’s instructions.
“I then turned the wrong way at a split much to his disgust.”
Although it was a tarmac-only event, the mud from the quicker R5 class cars cutting corners had been dragged onto the road, making conditions even more treacherous.
Their Peugeot 208 R2 finished the opening stage seventh in class and 49th overall in the capacity 70-car field.
“It had felt good though on that first stage and we were looking forward to the second, but I misjudged a left turn, touched the grass and went across the road and ended parked in a ditch,” said Howlett.
There were no spectators close by and the car was beached on the edge of road.
“So we were out of time and the stage was stopped to get us out, very disappointing,” he said.
“We still have a good finishing record so I’m not worried.”
The car was undamaged and after a quick wash down it remains in Belgium, ready for the Spa Rally, which is due to start from Theux on Friday.
More by this authorRussell Claydon