September 2019

By Gray

Posted in Motorsports

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Motor Sport Magazine Digital Editor, Dominic Tobin, is swapping his seat behind his laptop for the hot seat in a Mitsubishi rally car as he sets out to master a brand-new challenge by competing in the British National round of the World Rally Championship.

He is joining forces with motorsport media man and seasoned amateur driver Tony Jardine, to race through the demanding densely forested mountains at the National round running alongside the World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB, 3-5 October 2019.

Former F1 commentator Jardine is no stranger to the cockpit of a rally car, having competed in 26 WRGB’s (just behind Hannu Mikkola in overall appearances at the event), the first of them as far back as 1991. With a best placed finish of 26th overall and first in Group N, there is no doubt that he is an experienced pair of hands. The same cannot be said for Dominic, who will be jumping in at the deep end to partner Tony in the Rally Hire Northern Ireland prepared Group N spec Mitsubishi Evo 9, and whilst they might be competing in the national round that runs alongside the full WRC event, the perilous stages that will await the pairing are the very same that will be tackled by Tänak and Ogier et al.

Enter WRGB winning co driver from 2017, Daniel Barritt who guided Elfyn Evans to their epic first victory together, an incredibly popular home win for Wales and the UK. Daniel will be giving Dominic a one day crash course in co driving at Motor Sport’s offices in the hope of making the deep end a little less shallow for the WRC Rookie.

Said Daniel;

“It will be an exceptionally steep learning curve to go from new fish to navigator in a matter of weeks, with minimal time to recce the stages, not to mention learn and practice the giving directions to the driver in the cockpit, which is a language all of its own, the challenge for Dominic Tobin should not be underestimated so we both have our work cut out”.

This should be of some help, however, even tuition from top current Toyota WRC co-driver, Barrittt delivered at the heart of operations in the Motor Sport’s London office, will be very different to putting the tuition into practice on WRGB at speed.

Tony Jardine commented;

“It is somewhat easier from the luxury of the office chair looking at the in car videos and working on theoretical timings, but once the wheels are spinning at high speed in the forest stages, it will hit Dominic hard from every angle. He will be learning on the job.”

The mettle required to deliver at the sharp end though shouldn’t be underestimated and it will be interesting to see how Dominic copes with the challenge.