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National Champion returns to World Championship Stage

Posted on Monday, November 9th, 2015 in Rally News

SIMS Rally Team driver Tony Simpson will take on some of the best drivers in the world next week as he tackles the FIA World Rally Championship finale, Wales Rally GB [12 – 15 November], for what could be the final time.

The experienced rally driver and stand up comedian will contest the event in the Flying Dog backed Ford Fiesta ST and will be co-driven by Ian Bevan. The pair will fight for victory in the D-Mack Fiesta ST category, in the final event that the successful Fiesta can be used in international competition.

Based at a service park in Deeside, North Wales, the event features classic rallying tests in North and Mid Wales as part of a gruelling three-day endurance, where over 160 competitors will take part.

Simpson won the N3 category in the BTRDA Gravel Rally Championship this season and has finished as top Group N Fiesta ST on Wales Rally GB for the last two years. The Merseysider is looking forward to the event getting underway next week with a ceremonial start in Llandudno on Thursday evening, before the first competitive test on Friday morning.

“It’s great to go back for a third time with the knowledge we’ve gained from our previous experiences. This is the final year of homologation for our car and it would be great to give it a proper send off. We won the N3 class this year in BTRDA so I think we have a bit of a target on our back for honours at Rally GB,” said Simpson, who is supported by The Rydal Gym, Home 2 Office Water Coolers Ltd and PowerMaxed. The team tested for the event in Wales earlier this week. “The guys at have worked really hard to prepare the car and it’s like new. I really don’t think we could have prepared any better. I’m feeling relaxed and have the mind-set that what will be, will be. We’ve prepared the car as if we are doing five BTRDA rallies, because that’s pretty much what this event equates to. If it moves on the car, its either been serviced or replaced.”

Despite feeling ready to take on the 191-mile event, Simpson knows that he faces a difficult challenge ahead. “We want to be the first Fiesta ST home for sure, but there is a lot that can happen. If you get sucked into fighting for times with other cars, you will break the car. You have to do your own thing and let others do theirs. That simply goes against the grain of rallying and competition. But, we’re a small front-wheel drive Group N car running down the order. The conditions are so hard on the car – you have to go with your head not your heart. Getting to the end is the number one goal.”

Seeded as number 100 for the event, Simpson and Bevan will recce the route next Tuesday and Wednesday, along with the rest of the international crews, before taking part in the pre-event shakedown on Wednesday as the final stage of their preparation. “I’m embracing everything. I don’t think I’ll be doing the event again and I’m really going to enjoy the next week. There’s no other sport where you can take on the best the in the world. You can’t go to Wembley and take on Arsenal in the same way that you can’t go to a golf course and tap on Tiger Woods shoulder and ask him if he fancies a round. This is a very unique situation. It’s an honour to be a relatively little known amateur driver taking on the best in the world, in a car that’s worth the same amount of money as a suspension leg on a top World Rally Car. I simply cannot wait to get started.”

Event details are available on the official website :


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