Dealer principal returns to rallying hotseat

Former works rally driver Neil Simpson will return to rallying this year after a 12 year sabbatical, driving an ex-Skoda Motorsport Fabia S2000 entered by his own Simpsons of Preston and Colne Skoda dealerships.

After an initial shakedown test at Fulbeck Airfield in Lincolnshire before Christmas, Neil tested the car at rally speed for the first time in February, with his new co-driver Claire Mole, over the Trawsfynydd military range in Wales.

Neil’s last full rally season was in 2001, when he drove a works Volkswagen Polo S1600 in the MSA British Rally Championship. Back then he was also an official test driver for Volkswagen Motorsport, spending up to four days a week in Germany working on rally projects. The ending of that three-year contract coincided with his father wishing to take a back seat in the family business, and thus Neil decided to stop rallying and concentrate on building the business.

Nei saodl: “I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t rally while I developed the business, and whilst I’ve kept to it there has always been a motorsport culture at Simpsons Skoda. After twelve years, we felt the time was right to return to rallying.

“The test in Trawsfynydd went really well. We had all sorts of weather in one day – hail, torrential rain, sunshine – so we were able to test a variety of roll bar settings, dampers and tyres on both wet and dry roads; it couldn’t have been better. It was also the first time Claire and I had sat in a rally car together and we got on really well from the word go.

2014 planned programme of events

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