Freak mechanical drama forces Inspira Rally Team driver Bell out of Nicky Grist Stages

The Inspira Rally Team and driver Ruairí Bell were left wondering what might have been in the third round of the British Rally Championship, the Nicky Grist Stages, when a freak transmission failure halted their challenge.

Bell and the team entered the first gravel round of the 2022 campaign brimming with confidence, having claimed outright victory on the gravel rally stage event within the world-famous Goodwood Festival of Speed last month, and delivered on those high hopes with second fastest time in the first of eight stages in the 44.48-mile rally, held in Mid Wales.

But, a small gearbox issue reared it’s head on the first test, a run through the Llyn Login stage, but Bell and co-driver Max Freeman still managed to deliver the second-best time against some of the best rally drivers in the UK, in dusty conditions and challenging high temperatures.

The transmission issues intensified in stage two, the four-mile Monument test, but the crew drove to third-fastest time to remain in contention for the lead. However, worse was to come, as the squad’s Skoda Fabia Rally2 ground to a halt in the third stage, Halfway, leaving the crew unable to progress any further.

The result, within an early-season run where Bell has delivered impressive pace against far more experienced teams and drivers in the competitive field, comes as a disappointing blow, but every effort is now focused on the next round of the campaign in just four weeks’ time, with the fourth round of the British Rally Championship taking place at the Grampian Forest Rally in Scotland on August 13.

Ruairí Bell, Inspira Rally Team Driver:

“Sadly we retired with a gearbox issue. On the first stage third gear started to give a little trouble, and it just got worse. I was driving by using only second and fourth gears, and despite that still set competitive times, but on the third stage it packed up all together.
It’s extremely disappointing, especially when the pace was so good – we were just lying off the lead with only four gears. There’s a lot of positives to take away once again, and we have amazing support from our partners and supporters, but I am a bit done with sitting on the side of the road now. We have the pace to do much better than this, and hopefully our luck can change on the next rally and we can deliver on the faith shown in us.”