Harry Hunt looking for Canarias points

Harry Hunt looking for Canarias pointsFrom General Article [ 12/03/2012 ].
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London-based rally driver Harry Hunt has his sights set on a healthy points haul when he travels to the sun-soaked Canary Islands next week for the second round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Rally Islas Canaries El Corte Inglés (15 - 17 March).

The rally – set on the volcanic island of Gran Canaria – marks the one-year anniversary for Harry and co-driver Robbie Durant, who made their debut outing together on last year’s event. Eager to celebrate their anniversary in style, the duo will be aiming for a strong result at the wheel of their Citroen DS3 R3T.

“I’m feeling confident,” said 23-year-old Harry, who benefitted from extra seat time during a two day test in Portugal this week. “I’ve been doing a lot of fitness since the first round in the Azores and I’ve been working on pacenotes with Robbie. We’ve also been in the south of Portugal this week for a test. The roads over there are wider, much like the roads on Gran Canaria, so it was perfect preparation for next week. We wanted to find a good car set-up but we also wanted to try out some different brake pads – we’ve tried them on gravel before but next week will be the first time that we’ve used these specific brake pads on asphalt.”

Gran Canaria is located in the central part of the Canary Island archipelago, situated off the northwest coast of Africa.  Of the seven islands, Gran Canaria is the second most populous and enjoys a sub-tropical climate. Formed as a result of a thermal anomaly in the earth’s crust, the island’s rough volcanic rock will provide a unique driving challenge for the 76 entries registered for the two-day event.

Making its third appearance on the IRC calendar, this year’s Rally Islas Canaries will feature a run through a go-kart track offering competitors and fans a unique spectacle.  Organisers have also extended the itinerary for 2012 and competitors will drive 15 asphalt stages covering 150 competitive miles. “I really enjoyed this rally last year,” said Harry. “We had a few small problems but our car is well suited to the nature of the stages in the Canaries, so it should go well. The roads are wide, smooth and fast but it does have some narrower and more technical sections so we need to ensure that our pacenotes are spot on.” Harry added: “I think all of the two-wheel-drive entries are going to be tough to beat. Joan Vinyes won it last time so he’ll probably be our biggest threat.  Yeray Lemes is entered in a Ford Fiesta R2 and he’s from the Canaries, so will benefit from knowing the roads. But we’re concentrating on a good result and a good finish. That’s all we’re looking for after a non-points score from the Azores.”

Harry’s team manager, Iwan Evans, said: “The Canaries is one of the smoothest asphalt rallies in the IRC championship so on this terrain we aim to get the car set-up as low and as stiff as possible. Our asphalt test around Monchique in southern Portugal had road conditions that are very similar to the roads of Gran Canaria, so we were able to find a good set-up ahead of next week. “We competed on this rally in 2011, and since then, we have some new parts that we have tried on the car this week: suspension parts and braking components. This has improved the performance of the car in these areas. The rally has very tough opposition in the 2WD category this year, but we are confident of a good result after our test,” concluded Iwan.

People at home can keep up with Harry’s exploits in the Canaries through his regularly-updated Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/harryhuntrally), his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/harryhuntmotorsport) and his website (www.harryhuntmotorsport.com).