TTRC driver and 2012 Rally Trinidad Winner John 'Penti' Powell has teamed up with Jamaican co-driver Michael Fennell (Panton's navi) to contest the FIA NACAM Rally Championship. The TRI/JAM team touched down in Mexico yesterday to do the first round of the Championship this weekend in Puebla Mexico.
The NACAM Rally Championship is contested over 6 rounds as follows:
April 20-21 - Mexico (132km)
May 18-20 - Mexico
July 6-8 - Costa Rica
Aug 30-Sep 2 - Peru
Oct 12-14 - Panama
Nov 16-18 - Colombia
There are 16 entries in the Championship from 8 countries (see pic below), however each round of the Championship will have many more drivers. The entry list for the first event this weekend has just over 40 teams. So far Powell's biggest competition will be from Ricardo Trivino (MEXICO) who has raced at WRC level internationally for a number of years (placed 10th in Rally Mexico driving a Ford Fiesta RS - just 23min behind Loeb
). He has won the NACAM championship before and will be at home this weekend for sure. However Trivino went to Rally Jamaica in 2008 and was not comfortable against Caribbean competition and did not finish, so who knows.
John is surely putting Trinidad and Caribbean Rallying on the map with this attempt. Powell is one of the Caribbean's top drivers with the Rally Jamaica ('11), Rally Trinidad ('05, '06, '10, '12), and Rally Guadeloupe ('10) titles to his name. He will be heading to Barbados in June to attempt the 3-peat of Regional Rallying, something that has never been accomplished in the same year. One can only imagine the spotlight on Trinidad and Jamaica if he were to do well in the NACAM championship this year. If he does well, he will become an FIA seeded driver which opens a world of possibility internationally for even larger events. For this championship however he will be competing in a Mitsubishi Evo IX - Group N which he should be extremely comfortable in as this is his 4th time owning one.
I received an email from Mike Fennell this morning and he had this to sayHi Robert,
John and I got into Mexico City at 6:30 last night, along with Peter Clarke from Jamaica. Phil Marks arrived shortly after us, but Neil Buckley missed his connection and now gets in at midday today.
We attended a reception last night where we met some of the competitors and officials.
The car is on the port and is due to come out at 11 today, all being well.
As soon as Neil gets in we'll be heading to Puebla which is a 2hr journey.
Phil Marks is the world renowned Evo tuner and Neil Buckley will be managing the car for John. Neil heads Dom Buckley Motorsport, the company responsible for many of John's WRC cars, and wins with them of course.
What is crazy about this Rally is that it is 132km in 1 DAY! You are only allowed to recce the course on Friday with 2 passes through each stage. INSANE! but that is competition at the top level and it shows you have to be very on with your note taking and preparation. Thank God for GoPro!
See some pics below and stay tuned to this post for updates on John and Mike's progress for the Championship. Kindly keep the posts relevant as they will be monitored for spam, in order to keep it very newsworthy.
Mike Fennell (JAM) / John Powell (TRI)
At the lower right you can see Jose Abed - VP FIA and head of NACAM, the woman at the back is the driver of the SEAT
John is listed as being from Jamaica, possibly a typo - hopefully we can have this rectified