Highs and lows for Barrable on Rally Germany debut
August 23, 2013 by Paul Evans
After an excellent performance on the shakedown stage and impressive early split times, Robert Barrable was forced to retire from the ADAC Rallye Deutschland after damaging his Tunnock’s World Rally Team Ford Fiesta R5’s radiator fan mid-way through the opening stage.
The 25-year old Irishman had showed his pace on Tarmac with 5th fastest WRC-2 time on the all-new 2.82 mile (4.55km) shakedown stage – held near the town of Konz, south of the rally’s host city of Trier. On his first of just two set-up runs, Robert was only 0.5 seconds off the 3rd fastest time.
Co-driven by Stuart Loudon, Robert was 3rd quickest (behind Robert Kubica and Sepp Wiegand) and top Fiesta R5 driver after the first two splits on SS1 – and was catching Rashid Al Ketbi, who’d started a minute in front of him in an identical car. But mid-way through the 14.62 mile (23.54km) opening Blankenheim test, he cut a corner where two roads met at a fast right-left junction and hit the shoulder of the main road with a heavy thump.
The jolt broke the radiator cooling fan and Robert stopped soon after when a problem with the water cooling system became apparent when water sprayed onto the windscreen. Despite a magnificent effort by both CA1 Sport and M-Sport engineers, who worked on the car until 02.00, the Tunnock’s Fiesta R5 was unable to be repaired in order for Robert to continue in the rally under the restart regulations.
Robert: “The shakedown and recce had gone really well, so we started our first Rallye Deutschland happy enough. Everything was going well on the opening stage until we cut a right-hander maybe a little bit too much. The junction was more pronounced than it had been on the recce – we’d put a cut there in our pace notes, and it wasn’t a problem during the recce. I’m surprised now much the junction, and the step between the roads, had changed since the recce, but rally cars are built for things like this and we hit a lot worse on Rally Finland without an issue.
“When we stopped, I initially thought we’d burst the radiator. In fact we had damaged the blades of the radiator fan, which had caused the car to overheat a little. Luckily enough we caught it in time before the temperature rose to anywhere near danger level, but it looks like the sequence of events has created another issue with the car that we can’t seem to find. Despite the best efforts of everyone, it has put a premature end to our Rallye Deutschland debut.
“It’s a pity it happened so early in the rally, because I was really looking forward to the stages in the vineyards. They are so tight and technical, and I think we’d have gone very well in there.
“It’s a very long event, and I’m pretty sure we’d have been on for a WRC-2 podium finish. But such is rallying. These are the things you sign up for, it’s all character building and we’ve just got to get on and prepare for the next rally.”
Stuart: “Everything was going very well. We were very happy with the car after shakedown – we only did two runs, and the set-up seemed perfect. We were looking forward to giving it a reasonably good go, which we did do for the first half of the opening stage. The car was very going well, Rob was driving fantastically well and everything was working great.
“Unfortunately, after we took a cut, something has happened to the engine and despite the very best efforts of CA1 Sport and M-Sport we can’t work out exactly what it is. In the notes we had the junction as a ‘60 cut 1R 1L’ and we were taking the same line through there as everyone else, so we must have been incredibly unlucky to have sustained the damage we did, which finished our rally early.
“From our shakedown and split times we know that we have the pace to be extremely competitive and challenge for a WRC-2 podium, so if we can take that pace to France then we’re confident we can do well.”
The Tunnock’s World Rally Team’s next event is Rallye de France-Alsace (3-6 October).