JRM Subaru retired from lead in Valais

JRM Subaru retired from lead in ValaisFrom General Article [ 03/11/2014 ].
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JRM has been forced to withdraw its brand-new Gp N Subaru WRX STI from the lead of the FIA European Rally Championship’s Production Car Cup category at Rallye International du Valais in Switzerland, after the car was struck down by an unusual transmission problem earlier.

The international-spec machine, built as part of an official collaboration between British motorsport preparation specialist JRM and Subaru Tecnica International (STI) – the motorsport division of Subaru, was leading the Production Car Cup category by an impressive 5.7s and had won two out of three stages on leg one.

But driver Mark Higgins and co-driver Carl Williamson were denied the opportunity to extend their advantage against a raft of R4 and Gp N-specification machines heading into today’s second leg when they were forced into retirement on SS4.

“We’d made some more set-up changes to the car overnight and it felt fantastic this morning,” Higgins explained. “But when we started to brake into one particular corner about 4kms into the stage there was a noise and it was obvious there was a problem with the transmission. We got through the stage but we couldn’t carry on.”

Three-time British Rally Champion Higgins returned the car to service where JRM’s team of engineers leapt into action to try and unearth the problem.

Team Manager, Nigel Riddle, said: “We’ve stripped everything down and discovered a very unusual transmission problem. We think it’s linked to a particular batch of parts, so there’s no sense in fitting a spare gearbox as that has the same batch number and we run the risk of the same thing happening again. We’ve therefore reluctantly taken the decision to withdraw from the event.”

Higgins is bitterly disappointed that the JRM team was denied the opportunity to build on the car’s impressive stage-winning debut performance at the recent Barum Czech Rally Zlin. “It’s really unfair on the JRM guys because they’ve built a great car that’s shown itself to be capable of beating R4 machinery in a really competitive series. They’ve just been extremely unlucky with what’s happened and I’m really sorry we couldn’t deliver the result that the car deserves.”

JRM Executive Director, James Rumsey, said: “Retiring from the lead is a big disappointment but nobody can deny we’ve built a Gp N car that, after only two events, is capable of being the fastest car in the FIA European Rally Championship’s Production Car Cup category. That’s something we’re proud of and we’ll continue to work hard to fine-tune the car further and make it even faster.”

JRM’s new Gp N challenger will return to ERC action at the season-ending Tour de Corse on 6-8 November. The car will be driven by three-time British Rally champion Keith Cronin at the classic French event as Higgins and Williamson will be unavailable.

JRM’s new WRX STI can be used in all regions where Gp N international and national championships are widely recognised. This includes the FIA European Rally Championship and the WRC 2 series, as well as series’ in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Russia and Australasia.