Bob Fowden has already begun to rebuild his Comline Auto Parts/NGK-backed Subaru Impreza WRC S11, which was damaged in a fire on the Bet On Aces Manx National Rally.
The Llanelli driver, who is celebrating 40 years in rallying this year, had made a cautious start in the very wet conditions, but had fought back from 18th to 4th on Round 2 of the Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship when disaster struck on SS10. The cause of the fire, which destroyed everything under the bonnet of his ex-Petter Solberg Subaru, has been traced to a cracked exhaust manifold.
“The mechanics had fixed the crack in the manifold, but there was still a problem, as we were not getting enough boost for the launch procedure to function properly as we started the stage,” said Fowden. “The previous days rain perhaps cooled the engine, but on the dry second day it was a different story. It took eight fire extinguishers once the stage was stopped to put out the blaze, the heat cracking the windscreen and destroying just about everything in the engine bay. We were lucky that the fire did not penetrate into the cars interior. The engine has now been removed and will be having a complete check before being refitted, and the data logger readings downloaded to hopefully see more detail on the fire. Thankfully neither myself or Den Golding were injured, though it was a very nasty moment.”
Fowden has expressed his thanks to his fellow competitors that came to his aid, the fire so intense that the in-built fire extinguisher system could not cope alone. He has offered to pay for or replace the extinguishers his fellow competitors used, that prevented the potential total destruction of his Impreza WRC S11.