Rallysport action


Rallysport action

Vaz the early leader

Observer writer

Friday, March 13, 2020

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Lee Vaz left the first Drivers' Rallysport Club sprint, dubbed Lions' Rising, on March 8 with a full haul of championship points after winning the event's run section.

“We really have to thank our sponsors and the support from the other teams — Stewarts, KIG, Proven, Auto Traders, Cordia JA, Thwaites Finson Sharp, and Carland — for making this weekend possible for us,” Vaz told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

Vaz's gratefulness comes from the fact that he almost didn't make the event since he damaged his Subaru Impreza WRX STI last year while competing in Rally Jamaica.

“We finished the car 85 per cent at 4:45 am on Sunday morning. I was not even sure we were going to make it to the event. The suspension wanted some work, and we had some power issues, but went out same way,” he explained.

It may not have been smooth sailing however. As the old racing saying goes, to finish first, you first have to finish.

Rival Kyle Gregg looked strong all day, posting times to give him the class win and the overall fastest time of the day. Vaz took a conservative approach from the shakedown run. After previewing the course he decided to back off a bit to preserve the freshly rebuilt rally car.

“I believe Kyle won the regular rounds and we won the championship run. It was, quite honestly, unfortunate — his issues right at the end. It felt great to actually win something in rally. I believe this is my first win, a relief coming from where we started from,” said Vaz.

The venue — Shagore Aggregate Bog Plant in Lionel Town, Clarendon — was a brand new to the drivers.

“It was awesome to have somewhere new. There were some alternative route changes from the original track,” Vaz said.

Several other drivers had mechanical issues, shifting up the expected finishing order at the end of the championship runs. In second was Joel Jackson. Like Vaz, he had lost his Subaru Impreza WRX STI on Rally Jamaica 2019 and had to revert to his old Impreza, a 2000 model year STI Type R.

“It's nice to have it running again after three years. Felt almost nostalgic,” Jackson said with a laugh.

Jackson reconnected quickly, pushing the Impreza to its limits at times.

“I loved the venue, especially considering the challenges they had with the course on the day. I hope we have more events there.”

Completing the podium positions was rally veteran Leslie Madden Jr, also in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI. This was the Montegonian's second event on returning to Rallysport after a lengthy hiatus.

“Truth be told, I am very surprised that I finished third, as I had some issues with the car in the latter part of the day,” Madden explained.

The success confirmed his choice to return and Madden is looking forward to a full year of Rallysport.

Bobby Marshall and Thomas Gore completed the top five points finishers.

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