MINTEX contenders Ian Grindrod and Richie Holfeld look set for a successful season after making a promising debut in their new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5.

The Copster Green navigator and his Dublin-based driver were using the Wyedean Rally as testing exercise prior to the first round of the Mintex national championship later this month. Despite their unfamiliarity with the Evo 5, the pair claimed second in the group N 'showroom' class and 16th overall and captured fastest time on the final 2.5-mile stage.

"We were using the Wyedean to explore the limits of the new car, " said Ian.

"Following a couple of spins we decided to slacken off the dampers, which turned out to be a retrograde step as we lost another 20 seconds on stages five, six and seven. "Then for the final two tests, we hardened the suspension back up and we were immediately back on the pace, taking fastest time on Stage Nine, which was really pleasing."

The Wyedean's relatively short stages made it difficult for competitors to make up lost time, and the pair had to settle for second in group N behind Mark Perrott in another Evo 5. But the new Ralliart Germany-prepared machine lived up to all its pre-season expectations for driver Richie Holfeld.

He said: "It is everything we thought it would be. With the additional power from the engine, I have to really get on top of this car and not let it drive me!"

And with valuable mileage under their belts, Holfeld and Grindrod are aiming for Group N honours on the opening round of the Mintex national championship, the Bournemouth-based Sunseeker Winter Rally on Saturday, February 27.

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