MOTORSPORT: Rally driver Ashleigh gears up for second round of championship
Clutch issues in opening event will be fixed in time to challenge for class podium at Sunday's stages at Cadwell Park
Rugby-based rally driver Ashleigh Morris is taking on the Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship, which kicked off on Saturday at Oulton Park, near Tarporley.Ashleigh had a great result on the first stage in her Ford Fiesta R200, run by TnS Rally, with experienced co-driver Jamie Mactavish back in the navigator’s seat. They were third in class out of 12, just seven seconds off the lead, when they were forced to retire due to clutch issues. “Understandably we are really disappointed, but the good news is that the team are working on the car, have sourced the parts and have confirmed it will be ready for the next round, the NHMC Cadwell Park Stages on Sunday, November 18 at Cadwell Park, “ said Ashleigh, who comes from Scotland and initially moved down to the Midlands to do her Masters in Automotive Journalism at Coventry University. “We’re really pleased with the pace we had for the one stage we did manage so are hoping to get a class podium next time and build on that throughout the season.”After finishing the 2017/18 season 2nd in Class B, this year the Ashleigh Morris Rallying team are hoping to go one better and win the class. They are also competing in the Michelin Cup, open to championship competitors who are running Michelin tyres.Her interest in rallying began after a passenger ride in a rally car. “I then sat my BARS test and applied for my rally licence,” explained Ashleigh, who has worked for Jaguar Land Rover for five years, currently in digital marketing based at Gaydon, near Warwick.“I sat in the co-driver’s seat for a few years before starting driving myself in 2016.” She finished 2nd in Class A in the MSN Rally Championship in 2016/17, in a hired Fiat Punto, before moving up to her 1600cc Fiesta last October.“I’ve always been a petrol head and used to watch Formula 1 from when I was a child and go to watch rallies,” she added.“I never imagined I’d get the opportunity to compete in motorsport myself. I love everything about it to be honest, from the moment I arrive at the venue! “There’s a real buzz in the air seeing and hearing the rally cars and the adrenaline rush when you’re out on a stage is incredible.”Currently supported by Real System Controls Limited and Knockhill Racing Circuit, her team are seeking additional partners for the 2018/19 season.The Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship consists of eight rounds at some of the UK’s premier race circuits from November to April. Each event consists of approximately 50 stage miles over a variety of challenges from crests and jumps to water splashes. The championship receives coverage in Motorsport News, on Motorsport TV and on Amazon Prime.