Luke Pinder from Shipley, West Yorkshire and Mull born co driver Kim Baker came away from the Jim Clark International Rally last weekend as joint leaders of British Rally Championship R2 class. Competing in their Chris Birkbeck Rally Sport prepared Ford Puma 1400 kit car, the RDL / Sintura supported team had its problems in the Scottish Borders, with the Puma developing an electrical problem on the very first stage of the rally.
“The Puma engine went very flat part way through the first stage and despite the best efforts of the team we could not pin it down, the strange thing was that it only became a problem after a few miles into each stage, I think we had the hazard lights on for part of every stage on Saturday!” added Luke. On stage 2 whilst trying to keep the revs up the Puma spun on a fast corner, without full power the car would not pull itself straight and stalled. 2 minutes or so were lost trying to re-start and a very disconsolate crew returned to service.
Throughout the day various options were tried including changing all the engine sensors, but the problem persisted and the Puma was placed in “parc ferme” overnight. The team worked through the night to deliver and install another ECU and after testing the performance on the first stage of the day Pinder was back in business.
Happy and now full of confidence Pinder had something to prove and, now on the attack, set a string of fastest times in class. “It was important to me that we could show what we were capable of, we spent all yesterday struggling; today the car is mint. I love driving it hard. The only problem I have had today is that I have pulled a muscle in my neck and can’t move my head”. Despite all of the problems the RDL / Sintura backed crew finished high enough up the leader board to collect sufficient points to lead the R2 class overall. In addition Pinder is also joint leader in the British Junior Rally Championship. ”We are very happy to survive the Jim Clark and to find that we are leading the class overall is fantastic. It’s the best possible way we can reward the team, they have been brilliant this weekend.