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Gregg and Read in titanic battle for Rally2 title

Barbadian Josh Read and Jamaica’s Kyle Gregg are locked in a titanic battle for the Barbados Rally2 Championship sponsored by CIBC Caribbean and Ace H & B Hardware. After five rounds and nearly 220 kilometres of competitive special stages, culminating in last weekend’s (May 31-June 2) BCIC RB24, they are separated by just four points as they head into the summer break.
  With four rounds still to run and a further 80 points on offer, the battle is far from over, Read ahead with 100 points, Gregg on 96. Britain’s Rob Swann is third with 82 points, while island drivers Roger Hill and Logan Watson, in his first season of 4wd competition, are both within 10 points of Swann. Read has won three rounds and Gregg one, while 20-year-old Adam Mallalieu, the youngest competitor in the field, won round four.
  Administered by the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF) and now in its third season, the championship has attracted a regional and international entry, building on the steadily growing popularity of the FIA R5 class, first introduced to island motorsport in 2019: there are drivers from Barbados, England, Jamaica, the Turks & Caicos Islands and the USA, with co-drivers also from Trinidad & Tobago and Wales.
  Read (Ford Fiesta R5) had taken the series lead with his second win of the season at First Citizens King of the Hill (May 26), where Gregg (Fiesta Rally2) and Mallalieu (Fiesta R5) both retired early. Mallalieu was caught out by the slippery conditions, hit some cut rock and came to a halt with a damaged wheel, while Gregg’s departure was more dramatic, clipping the same corner but rolling his Fiesta a number of times and making contact with Mallalieu’s car in the process.
  Both cars were badly damaged, Gregg’s requiring components to be shipped from the UK, some of which did not arrive until a few hours before the first floodlit special stage at Bushy Park Barbados started RB24 last Friday evening. The remarkable turn-round achieved by the engineers and mechanics who rebuilt the two cars was rewarded with The Spirit of the Rally Award at the Prizegiving on Monday, (June 3).
  Split into two rounds, Rally Barbados is the most important weekend of the year for championship contenders with a maximum of 60 points on offer, around one-third of the season’s total. Friday’s three stages and the nine on Saturday represented round four, with Sunday’s action round five . . . with 25 points for a win each day. Then, new for this year, there were 10 bonus points for all drivers classified as overall finishers.
  As at KotH, the weather played an important role over the weekend of RB24, sudden unpredictable storms making special stages particularly treacherous and the right choice of tyre vital, but also near-impossible. Fastest of the championship contenders on both floodlit stages at Bushy Park, Mallalieu was in the running from the start, third overnight behind Gregg and Read. Swann (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo) was fourth, having been fastest on the Featherbed Lane stage, then punched in three stage wins on Saturday morning to build up a lead of 8secs, with Gregg second and Mallalieu third.
  It all unravelled on the last Padmore before stage lunch, however, where Swann was among many caught out by a huge downpour after only the first few cars had completed the stage. The Brit plummeted to eighth and last of the Championship runners, while Mallalieu regained the lead ahead of Gregg and Watson (Fabia Rally2 evo), who had also enjoyed a stage win; the order remained the same, Mallalieu winning round four by 20secs from Gregg, who closed to within one point of Read, who finished fourth.
  With weather still the main topic of conversation, the final day of BCIC RB24, round five of the Rally2 Championship, moved to the north of the island for eight stages at three venues before a return to Bushy Park for one untimed stage and the Rally Finish. After the first Dark Hole was lost to the weather, Gregg won Lamberts, 1.7secs up on Read with Swann another 5secs back. Read then won Four Hills and Dark Hole, moving to the head of the leader board with a cushion of nearly 2.5secs to Gregg. After running wide in Dark Hole and damaging two wheels, Mallalieu dropped out of the running.
  With another two stage wins, Read was nearly 5secs ahead of Gregg in the Rally2 round five battle as the event drew to a close, although the Jamaican was ahead in the RB24 order based on all three days. On the final stage, aware that fourth-placed non-championship runner Mark Maloney was closing in, Gregg pulled out all the stops to defend the final RB24 podium place, in doing so beating Read by 4secs, which left the Barbadian’s winning margin at just 0.88sec, the closest of the season so far.

Barbados Rally2 Championship
Championship points after round 5
1st Josh Read (Ford Fiesta R5), 100 points
2nd Kyle Gregg – JAM (Ford Fiesta Rally2), 96pts
3rd Rob Swann – ENG (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo), 82pts
4th Roger Hill (Skoda Fabia R5), 75pts
5th Logan Watson (Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo), 74pts
6th Andrew Mallalieu (Ford Fiesta R5), 64pts
7th Paul Horton – TCI (Citroen C3 Rally2), 46pts
8th Adam Mallalieu (Ford Fiesta R5), 41pts
9th George Sherman – USA (Ford Fiesta Rally2), 28pts

Remaining rounds: Rd 6, Sep 14 – Rally of the Sun & Stars (MCBI); Rd 7, Nov 17 – Winter Rally (BRC); Rds 8 & 9, Nov 30/Dec 1 – Special Stage Rally (VRMSC)
Key to organisers: BRC – Barbados Rally Club; MCBI – Motoring Club Barbados Inc; VRMSC – Vaucluse Raceway Motorsports Club

For media information only. No regulatory value.

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