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Stuart Jones became the first British driver to win the very specialized Rally Reykjavik in Iceland last weekend.

The 30th International Rally Reykjavik consisted of 260km of stages over three days, made up of a mixture of tarmac and gravel stages varying from super smooth and fast Finnish-style roads to the famous 39 km  rocky and twisty Kaldidalur stage which saw the crews climb to over 1000 metres above sea level.

A new car, a new co-driver and completely new stages saw Jones elect to make a cautious start and after the opening leg, the 24 year old was lying second overall and 17 seconds adrift of the leader.

Back at the service park, Jones set about making a few suspension changes to improve the Evo X’s stability for the faster stages of leg two. "The car was moving around a little too much at high speed which made it difficult to commit to my notes. But I am happy with my position going into leg two as there is a lot of loose gravel tomorrow,” he commented.

Fastest by four seconds on the opening short tarmac test in the morning, followed by equal fastest on the following stage meant Jones was keeping up his pressure on the leader as the crews headed for the huge 39km Kaldidalur stage. A time 20 seconds quicker than anyone else, combined with the overnight leader Jón Bjarni suffering a puncture, saw Jones return to the midday service with a two minute lead. He then set about extending his lead and a big attack on the same 39 km stage run in the opposite direction saw the former BRC challenger more than double his lead to over four minutes!

“That stage is just awesome. We had a great rhythm from the start and pushed hard all the way through the stage. We’re in a good position now but we're only half way through the rally, so there is still a lot to do"

A string of stage wins during the afternoon saw Jones end the day with a lead of over five minutes. "It has been a great day for us. Isak (Jones' co-driver) was great on the notes and with his experience of the stages he was able to warn me of the bad corners which really allowed me to attack the stages and build this lead!"

The final leg was made up of eight stages and Jones continued his impressive pace to take the rally win by exactly eight minutes.

Jones commented, "The SJR run Evo10 is such a well balanced package now. It was easy to find a good pace on all the different stage surfaces and really responded well the harder I pushed it. The stages were very demanding on the car and it didn't miss a beat which made the win so much easier."

Photo: www.rallyreykjavik.net

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