2006 Silverstone Rally School Lady Quest winner Becky Kirvan had a tough stage rally driving debut as she retired from the Robin Hood Forest Stages rally on Sunday (11 March) with a minor mechanical problem.
Essex-based Kirvan, co-driven by former World Rally Championship (WRC) contender Gemma Price, had been running well in the 1400cc Silverstone Rally School MG ZR on the 42-mile Sherwood Forest-based gravel event.
The all-female crew were in 50th place overall and fifth in class one in the modern section of the rally and had suffered no major dramas before the engine problem struck on stage 11 of the 13 stage event.
But despite having her first stage rally appearance brought to a premature end, 26-year-old Kirvan has drawn plenty of positives from the experience.
“The weekend was a mix of emotions. I felt like I was driving a lot better than I expected to after such a long break and I was more confident in the car than I thought I would be,” she said. “I was pleased with how it went up until we retired and it has been a confidence booster.
“The stages were very rutted and rough and we were going well then the car just stopped mid-stage but it was not a major problem. I was very disappointed and a bit annoyed not to get a result because I was really enjoying it but these things happen in rallying.”
Kirvan, who completed the four-day gruelling endurance Lombard Rally in October, will now go on to compete in a further four stage rallies this season under the Silverstone Rally School Lady Quest scholarship and upgrade her MSA (Motor Sports Association) competition licence from a National B to a National A standard. She does not have long to wait until her next event as she will contest the Tour of Cornwall tarmac rally on March 23-24.
Lady Quest, an initiative to promote women drivers into the male dominated sport of rallying, is in its 14th year in 2007 and Silverstone Rally School only have a limited number of spaces now available on assessment days this year, with demand for places high.
The scheme is open to all females who are aspiring rally drivers, all that is required is that they have no previous motorsport experience and a full driving licence. There is no selection process to get onto an assessment day and registrations are taken on a first come first served basis, so potential applicants are advised to contact the school as soon as possible for information. The Lady Quest scholarship consists of a fully sponsored season of rallying with a rally car, team of mechanics and all expenses paid.