Damian Cole gave his ex-works Get Connected / TCL backed Škoda Fabia R5 an impressive rally debut when he finished second overall on the Corinium Stages at Down Ampney.
Co-driven by Dale Bowen, the Abergavenny driver set third fastest time on the opening stage, which was his first competitive miles ever driven in an R5-spec car.
From then on he got quicker and quicker as he acclimatised to the ex-Jan Kopecký car. After a spin on SS6, Damian set equal fastest time on the penultimate stage and outright fastest time on the eighth and final stage.
“It was a good first event in the Škoda and it wasn’t a bad result having been away from rally competition, with the exception of two miles at Down Ampney last year, for eighteen months,” said Damian.
“I hadn’t rallied a car with a gear stick since 2016, so there were a couple of times early on in the event when I went to squeeze the paddle shift on the steering wheel before remembering that there wasn’t one! I also had to adjust my driving style to better suit the balance of the car, as I was turning in too early and clipped a couple of barrels early on – but overall it all felt really good and went well.”