The Pirelli International Rally organisers are delighted that the 2019 event will see a welcome return by the Armed Forces Rally Team who are bringing their full compliment of 5 outfits to the Carlisle based rally for the opening event of their season and they are really looking forward to the opportunity to test themselves over the daunting Kielder Forest stages.
The enthusiastic team who, whilst backed by the Ministry of Defence, have to prepare and service the vehicles in their own time, will be using their familiar, all white, land Rover “Wolfs”. Now fitted with a powerful 2.5 litre turbocharged diesel engine which gives the 2-tonne vehicles quite a turn of speed, they are an awesome sight as they career round at some amazing angles as the fully committed drivers blast through the forest stages with gusto.
The Pirelli International Rally is the season opener for the team who regularly compete in events both in the UK and in Europe in a programme which has seen them venture as far as Iceland to enter that country’s Rally Reykjavik, there the roads consisted of mud, lava and volcanic ash so the Kielder Forest tracks should be no problem, as one team member said, “It’s all in a days work for a Land Rover”.
Back up for the competing Land Rover crews comes from their service crew who happily clean windows, brew tea, crack jokes and repair the damage inflicted on the vehicles, often working in adverse weather conditions and extremely tight time schedules. Where initiative, ingenuity and engineering excellence are crucial, the service crews are never found wanting and they go all out on events to the driving crews reach the finish. Drawn from all branches of the services they include REME VM’s, RAF Technicians, RLC Drivers and Infantry personnel.
The Armed Forces Rally Team normally run at the back of the field and the Pirelli International Rally organisers are urging spectators to stay and enjoy their performances and to give them a huge cheer as they speed through the stages.