Philip Hopkins will contest this year’s Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship in his Mitsubishi Evo 6 – and is aiming to start the new season by ending his Epynt jinx.
The Evo 6 might look similar to the one that he contested the 2018 season in, but 90% of it is new following a major rebuild – including a lighter shell and a sequential gearbox.
Work commitments and a new family arrival put a halt to Philip’s plans of contesting the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship in 2019. He did contest the opening round, but turbo failure put paid to a good start on the Tour of Epynt.
In fact, despite Philip and co-driver Aled Edwards having happy memories of contesting their first event together on Epynt in 2017, and going on to score some great results elsewhere, the mid-Wales military range hasn’t been kind to them – with retirements coming in 2017, 2018 and 2019, all whilst lying inside the top 10.
The most frustrating DNF was on the 2018 Tour of Epynt, when they started the final stage lying sixth overall before going off the road.
Philip hopes that his fourth event on Epynt, and his first attempt that The Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally (Sunday 29 August), will finally break his Epynt jinx.
The Bristol driver has also entered his local round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, the Hills Ford Three Shires Stages Rally (Sunday 5 September).
Philip gave his Evo 6 a pre-season shakedown test run on the Corinium Stages in May. Co-driven by David Jenkins, he was second overall (against eight R5 cars and a host of good Escorts) on the Down Ampney event when the water pump failed.
Philip considers this a good omen, for had he not contested the Corinium Stages, the water pump might have failed on Epynt!
One thing is for sure – few drivers deserve a clean run to a top 10 finish on Epynt more than Philip does!
Picture of Philip Hopkins/David Jenkins (Mitsubishi Evo 6) on the Corinium Stages courtesy of Russ Otway – 90right.com