Rally Driver Chris Wheeler opens a new chapter in his motorsport career this Saturday (May 8th) when he contests the opening round of the BTRDA Clubmans Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill Circuit in Kent. The Torquay-based youngster will be up against some of the UK’s fastest drivers in the Modified Category, driving a 1600cc Ford Fiesta that he has converted from rally to Rallycross specification. The idea to take on this new challenge came while the Covid lockdown was at its height. Wheeler and his team realised that rallying would be difficult to reintroduce once restrictions were lifted because of how close the driver and co-driver sit to one another. Rallycross, however, only has one person, the driver, in the car. “We thought it would be an excellent alternative and would be very good experience in a friendly but competitive environment” says Wheeler. The Ford Fiesta which he used to win his class in the 2016 British Rally Championship has undergone a transformation to make it eligible for Rallycross. The co-driver’s seat has been removed and new high-level brake lights have been fitted just below the roof line. This is so that drivers can see when a rival is braking and lessen the chance of collisions during close racing.

As he prepares to make the trip from Devon to Kent, Wheeler knows that there will be several significant differences he will need to get used to. “It will be strange to not have my co-driver Shaun Layland sitting next to me guiding me around the course, and I will be battling side by side with other cars. I feel very excited and a little apprehensive, but I am determined to give it my best shot and to enjoy it!”

Writer: Ian Harden

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