Garry Jennings (below) failed to finish the first round of the British Rally Championship, but declared himself happy as he tasted competitive action in his new Ford Fiesta R5 for the first time.

Jennings held the lead in the battle for the National Rally Champion and was challenging just outside the top ten overall when a puncture led to a premature end to his Neil Howards Stages Rally.

“I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to get back out again,” he admitted.

“It was disappointing that I didn’t get a finish because it would have been great to get some points on the board, but it was just one of those things.

“The car is home in one piece and no damage. I’m disappointed because we could have come away with top points in the national R5 class, but hopefully we will get the next one.”

Jennings always had a tough task to break into the top tiers of the leader board with many of the high-quality entry drivers boasting newer, higher-specification R5 cars, but despite his technical disadvantage and unfamiliarity with the car, he posted the eleventh-fastest overall time on the opening stage around the Oulton Park complex in England.

That was good enough to lead the fight for the BRC National class, and he maintained that advantage before he picked up a puncture on the penultimate stage.


“We were learning and going faster all the time, and then we got a puncture on stage seven,” Garry explained.

“I had to put the car down low and I had no rebound at all, and I think I just picked it up on the gravel.

“Then I went into a big left hander and it spun me out.

“I drove on the rim, but it is seven miles around the track and I ended up with a stage maximum.

“There was no point going back out for the last run because we were well out of the points.”

The event proved to be a good learning experience for Garry, who admits that the car is a big change from his more familiar Subaru.

“I was braking far too early into corners and chicanes, but I was getting a lot better as I went along,” he said.

“The car definitely doesn’t have the power of the Subaru at the top end, but down low it is very nimble and great in through the chicanes.

“It was great to learn that around the track,” added Jennings.

Garry is keen to get back into action and although he has not yet committed to his next event, he admits he is considering an entry for the Argyll Rally in Scotland at the end of June.