- Newcomers lead Class 1B of British Cross Country Championship and rank fourth overall after three rounds
- Rally-ready vehicle retains standard chassis and drivetrain
The Jewson Isuzu D-Max Rally Team has made a very positive start to its maiden year in the British Cross Country Championship, with driver Jason Sharpe and his nephew Russell, co-pilot, currently leading Class 1B in their competition pick-up.
At the mid-point of the season, the duo are ranked fourth in the overall standings after three rounds and with three to go.
Class 1B is open to production vehicles only, mandating a maximum engine capacity of 2,500cc and restricting motorsport enhancements. The D-Max is currently placed ahead of several purpose-built rally prototype vehicles in the overall standings.
Round one kicked off in Myherin, known as the Welsh ‘Pikes Peak’, on 12 April, with the stages shrouded in dense mist. The team recorded blistering stage times despite suffering an early impact. Weather conditions improved by day two and the team, having got to grips with the new D-Max, improved its pace. By the end of the day just one other production model finished above the D-Max in the rankings.
Ebbw Vale, South Wales was the location for the second round. A generally smoother, flatter and faster event, the team started with even greater confidence thanks to a number of technical upgrades. Despite a difficult first day, the team carried on pushing the D-Max to its limits and increased the lead over production-class rivals, eventually taking its maiden victory and finishing ninth in the overall standings.
Round three saw the team travel to the Forest Estate in Dumfries, Scotland where the rugged terrain and unpredictable local weather presented fresh challenges. The D-Max’s tough underpinnings helped Jason and Russell take a commanding lead on day one. By the end of the second day, the uncle-nephew team had extended its lead, taking a dominant class victory and finishing just 26 seconds behind the overall leader.
Driver Jason Sharpe comments: “The D-Max has demonstrated excellent reliability and durability throughout the first half of the season. The performances have redefined our class – I’m not sure those running these high-power, dedicated race vehicles are entirely happy about a production vehicle nipping at their heels, but that’s testament to the D-Max’s ability. I’m confident our performance will carry on into the next round in Radnor as we aim to finish the season on a high.”
The next round starts in the Radnor Hills on the Welsh border on 26 July.