Wheeler finishes season on a high at the Challenger Stages

Wheeler finishes season on a high at the Challenger Stages

Wheeler finishes season on a high at the Challenger Stages

Torquay-based rally driver Chris Wheeler ended a successful season on a high by finishing eighth overall at last weekend’s Challenger Stages, held at Bovington in Dorset. Wheeler and co-driver Shaun Layland produced a mature drive in their Citroen DS3 R3T, starting steadily in slippery conditions during the morning before upping their pace as the stage surface dried out. The event attracted a high class field of 66 crews, with many keen to score points in various regional championships. However, Wheeler and Layland were equal to the challenge; using their Citroen’s nimble handling to good effect on the slippery surface they battled for seventh place with Ben Short / Hannah Chislett’s Mazda MX-5.

The two crews remained locked together throughout the morning, and as the tracks dried Wheeler pushed hard, closing the gap to just five seconds. But Short’s light and powerful Mazda had just enough extra speed to hold Wheeler at bay. In the closing miles, Wheeler came under pressure from Andrew Phillips / Sophie Buckland’s two-litre class Peugeot 205 GTi. Now, car preparation came into play; the Citroen ran faultlessly and Wheeler beat his rival by six seconds on the final stage to consolidate eighth overall and second in class. Speaking after the rally, Wheeler was full of praise for the team: “I am really proud of the effort that everyone has made throughout this season. The Citroen has been ultra-reliable and we have a 100 percent finishing record. Also, (co-driver) Shaun has done an awesome job in the car all year. We will prepare the car thoroughly over the winter, ready for our intended move up to a major national championship in 2020.”

Writer: Ian Harden

Chris & Shaun learn the Irish roads

Last week Chris Wheeler & Shaun Layland took on the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally in their DS3 R3T.

The rally was held over 11 special stages covering fifty-five stage miles. This would be Chris & Shaun's first time competing in Ireland together & Chris's second time in Ireland, the first time being the Ulster rally back in 2013. The aim of the event would be to complete the rally & to gain valuable experience & knowledge of the stages. The team would have a fourteen-hour journey to reach the event from their home town in Torquay, sleep would be needed as much as possible to be fresh for the Saturday morning loop of stages.

The morning stages had mixed levels of grip, some sections being dry & others being slippery on the mud in the lanes or standing water on the double width roads. The DS3 was going well & considering it is now eight years old it was holding up well against the more modern cars.

As the rally went on Chris jumped up fifteen places & started putting in more competitive times which was what the team would be hoping for as Chris & Shaun started to learn the Irish roads. In the afternoon the confidence grew, it ended up being an enjoyable day for the team & with a finish, it was a massive learning curve.

Chris has said, the Irish lanes are amazing to drive, very fast & with some fantastic jumps which we can get big air on, we may not have got the result we wanted but considering we are in old technology compared to most & our first time on these roads, we have not done bad at all. We will be returning to Ireland as this seem's like the place to be & where we can compete against top drivers which will help up our pace.

Next stop on the Chris Wheeler Rallying calendar is the Three Shires Stages back in England. This event is England's third closed road rally under the new road closure regulations. Eighteen stages held on just one day, covering forty-eight stage miles with seventy-five Liasion miles. It'll be team CWR's home event & one not to miss, it also features a spectator stage which the crews run through twice, it includes a water splash & a jump.

To see all our updates & news head to Chris Wheeler Rallying on Facebook.

25th overall & 3rd in Cass for CWR at Manx National Rally

Chris Wheeler & Shaun Layland competed on the Manx National Rally last week in there Citroen DS3 R3T. The Manx Rally is an iconic event known for it's technical roads & history. Over recent year's the Chris Wheeler Rallying team have not had the best of luck on the Isle Of Man, but this time they went to the island with anything but not finishing in mind.

The last time Chris finished this rally was back In 2012 In a Ford Fiesta MS1. The event held two day's of competition which included four stages in dusk, four in night & eight on the second leg of the rally all in daylight. The stages totalled 100 miles of competitive driving. Chris & Shaun spent two day's of recceing the stages in order to prepare their pacenotes before the event got underway competitively.

Friday morning the Manx Rally held a shakedown stage where crews could get a feel for the stages & the cars before the rally started that evening, this stage Chris went over twice in the DS3, everything felt great & the mood was happy in the team. Leg 1 started with a loop of four stages, Chris & Shaun completed the first loop but was unhappy about the cars handling as they seemed to be fighting with the car to keep it on the road. The CWR team made some adjustments before the second loop of four stages & sent Chris & Shaun on their way hoping the car would improve. The times had improved over the second loop but there was still frustration inside the car, the team had a lot of adjustments to make before leg two would get underway.

Leg two would be the longest day of the event, so all fingers were crossed that it would be a better day. The first two stages of the day Chris was a lot happier with the car, setting some good stage times. The following stages Chris climbed up the leaderboard & was sitting in a much better place. The smiles were finally back inside the car & with the odd moment or two it looked like the CWR team would finish this event & put all the previous years to bed.

The second to last stage was cancelled due to an accident of a previous car on the road leaving one more stage to run which was just over thirteen miles. Chris & Shaun set off, knocking the miles down towards the finish, half way through the stage coming into a hairpin right Chris has a small " moment " managing to do a Scandinavian flick into the hairpin & managing to pull It off in front of the crowd of spectators, a sigh of relief was taken but the crew pushed on & crossed the flying finish. Chris said this was a very tough event but one he enjoyed & to finish the rally with a third in class just tops the weekend off perfectly, bringing an award home. Chris will be returning to the stages again in Northern Ireland on the 20th July for the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally. Until then follow them on social media by searching Chris Wheeler Rallying

Chris Wheeler to attend Rally day

This year the Chris Wheeler Rallying team will be attending Rally day at Castle Combe Race Circuit on the 22nd September. This is europe's ultimate rally car show. The event will be host to the worlds best rally cars from historic right up to the modern day era. Also some of the worlds best drivers will be in attendance.

For ourselves, we will be out on track throughout the day, also we will be featuring on the Feature rally stage including the mixed surface rally stage. If you can attend feel free to come and visit the CWR team, our car will be on display all day and we are more than happy to show you round. 

We also are doing a fund raiser on this day, we have three pairs of Sunday day passes to this year's World Rally GB held in Wales. for just £5 you will be entered into our prize draw for your chance to win. Winners will be announced on the 23rd September on the website and all our social media pages.

We hope to see you at RallyDay! 

An early end to the season for CWR

Sadly with a retirement on the Rally Van Wervik due to suspension damage after hitting a rock on the first stage, we have decided to pull out of the 2018 MSA Asphalt Rally Championship.

Stage 1 in Belgium saw Chris & Shaun come round a fast blind corner to find a rock placed in the racing line. They managed to avoid the rock with the front of the car but the off side rear wheel hit the rock and broke the suspension putting them out of the event.

having had so many issues with the car, we need to take time out of a championship to sort the problems out before we go back into big events.

Chris Wheeler Rallying ready for their first overseas rally

Wheeler & Layland will be back in action at Rally Van Wervik

After a disappointing end to Chris Wheeler & Shaun Layland’s Manx National Rally, the crew now put the event behind them & look down the road towards Rally Van Wervik in Belgium.

The Devon team ended their rally after Stage four back in service on the Manx National due to a mechanical issue with the car, they had spent the first loop of stages struggling in the rain & fog which also wasn’t helped by a windscreen misting up making visibility next to nothing.

Once the crew started stage four as soon as they got to the first corner disaster struck & a mechanical problem hit, making the car almost impossible to keep control of.

It was an early exit for the team but with Round three just around the corner all eyes now head to Belgium, & now hopefully the tables will turn in Wheeler’s favour.

Belgium will be Chris & Shaun’s first ever event abroad, the aim for this event will not only be to gain experience but will also be to start getting points in the bag & to move up in the standings.
The DS3 is currently being repaired & will soon be ready for its next outing.

Chris has said “ It was a shame to retire on the Isle Of Man, with the conditions looking good for the Saturday’s Stages I know we would have pulled our way up the leaderboard & I would of been confident to push on.

I was happy with our shakedown runs before the event & Shaun was doing a great job to get me through the fog & keeping me under control.
Next event I’m sure we can start making progress together & get a finish under our belt, this is just the start for us & this car “