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International Rallycross set for Barbados

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Some of the world’s most exciting competition cars will arrive in the island next month, when the Vaucluse Raceway Motor Sport Club (VR MSC) stages the inaugural Barbados Rallycross International on Saturday, November 25. Unlike RallySprint, for which the venue has so far been used, rallycross features eight- or 10-car races on a mix of sealed and loose surfaces.

Last year’s Champion Pat Doran will lead a group of the UK’s top drivers from the Supercar class of the British Rallycross Championship; with nearly twice the horsepower of a World Rally Car, 50 per cent more torque and carrying around two-thirds of the weight, the four-wheel-drive rallycross supercars are among the most spectacular machines in motor sport.

Doran’s own Ford Fiesta ST has a two-litre Cosworth engine, developing 540bhp and 600 lbs ft of torque, which can power it from standstill to 60mph in 1.9 seconds and on to 100mph in 5.3secs; it has a top speed of 150mph. {{more}}

In common with the RallySprint events at VRW this year, the Barbados Rallycross International will be run under floodlights; practice will start at 5.00pm on Friday, November 24, while Saturday’s race action is slated for a 3.00pm start, finishing by the VR MSC’s self-imposed deadline of 10.00pm.

Doran visited this year’s Barbados Rally Carnival as a guest of the VR MSC to advise on the feasibility of using VRW for rallycross events; to conduct further research, VR MSC chairman Greg Cozier travelled to the UK as Doran’s guest to watch a round of the British championship.

Cozier said: “These cars are awesome – even Colin McRae reckons a rallycross supercar is the most exciting car he has ever driven! Although the sport is well-established in Europe, it is new to the Caribbean, and I believe will spark a great deal of interest.”

Cozier continued: “We have re-configured Vaucluse to allow for side-by-side racing by moving the lane-dividers to the inside edge, more than doubling the width of the track. It is at least 11 metres wide – much wider in places – and is a mixture of surfaces, two-thirds sealed and one-third smooth clay.

“I am very grateful to Pat Doran for his help with this project – he was very enthusiastic and spent many hours looking at our original ideas; thanks to his expertise, we now have an even better layout than we had planned ourselves. He reckoned it could be one of the best rallycross tracks in the world – I hope it will live up to his high expectations when he returns in November!”

Rallycross will not replace RallySprint at VRW, as Cozier explains: “We will continue to organise three RallySprint events in the first half of the year, ending with our Barbados Rally Carnival International. We will then re-configure the track and organise three Rallycross events, ending with the Rallycross International on Independence weekend. These events will constitute two separate seasons, which may be adjusted based on driver, spectator or sponsor demand.”

A maximum of three qualifying heats will be run, in the ascending order of Groups, building the excitement from the slower cars right up to the invited Supercars. A maximum of 10 cars will start each six-lap heat, with grid positions allocated randomly. Drivers earn points based on their finishing positions in each heat – one point for first place, two for second and so forth – and the driver with the lowest score will start the Group final from pole position. Once all the Group heats are completed, the finals will be run; a maximum of eight cars will start in the Group finals, and will run for eight laps.

In addition to the invited Supercars from Britain, there will be races for all the regular VR MSC Groups; in any instances of Groups being undersubscribed, they will be merged.

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