RISING British rally star Justin Dale is getting set for his baptism of fire on the World Rally Championship stages, making his debut in the gruelling Network Q Rally in Wales this month.
Justin, reigning S1600 Champion in the British Rally Championship with co-driver Andrew Bargery, made a guest appearance on the Peugeot stand on Motorsport Day to meet rally fans and sign autographs.
He is leaving Peugeot after six successful years in UK rallying, to step up to World Rally Championship with a Subaru Impreza supported by crack rally team Prodrive.
Justin and Andrew are confirmed to drive in six events in 2003, but will be visiting all rounds of the World Championship to prepare for a serious attempt on it in 2004.
Justin, who lives in Hampshire, says that despite his experience, getting used to the more powerful four wheel drive World Rally Championship (WRC) Cars after his 1.6 litre Peugeot 206 rally car has been an eye-opener!
“Even just sitting in the new car is a totally different ball game,” revealed Justin, aged 30.
“Personally, I want to do the best I can, but we need to put some miles on the new car and we need to be realistic about what we can achieve.
“The Network Q is always foggy and wet, so it's probably not the best event to do first!”
Even though Justin's Peugeot 206 S1600 car is powerful and capable of 120 mph on rally stages, the WRC Subaru is a very different beast.
“The driving experience gives you a huge grin. Acceleration is around four seconds from 0-60 mph on gravel surfaces.”
Justin can look back on some fond memories with his Peugeot career, and he set a fast time on a rally car stimulator on the show stand, for members of the public to try to beat.
“I really enjoy doing this sort of thing - it's good to meet the public and let them see a real rally car, it's all good PR,” he added.Published 2 November 2002