Farmer Joe enjoys awesome Wales GB Rally despite timing chaos

Joe Evett, from Aston Clinton, performed well at the Wales GB Rally
Joe Evett, from Aston Clinton, performed well at the Wales GB Rally

Farmer-cum-rally driver Joe Evett has described his time at the prestigious Wales GB Rally as ‘awesome’ despite getting a fine for forgetting his licence!

Joe, of Aston Clinton, qualified for the race in the car he works on in a converted barn at College Farm near Aylesbury.

And he enjoyed every minute despite forgetting his paperwork and timing issues at the world famous event which have sparked an international investigation.

“It’s really good driving through the forests after the WRC guys because the stages are packed with spectators cheering you on,” he said.

“I enjoyed the whole experience, apart from the £65 fine I had to pay for forgetting my licence!”

Wales Rally GB is calling for the FIA to initiate a formal investigation to report on the official WRC timing system at the event after reports that the management system deployed was apparently hacked during the otherwise highly successful finale to the 2013 world championship.

The final results for the International event were not available for several hours after the rally ended: results for the two national events which ran alongside the WRC contest are not expected to be ready until later this week, which included Joe’s results.

However, the farmer is positive he has performed well and may have even been top of his class.

“Not having any results is annoying,” Joe said.

“We are pretty certain we won the 1400 class and we think we got somewhere in the top 10 overall in the national rally.

“This is a brilliant achievement seeing as we were competing against some much more powerful and faster cars such as Subaru’s and Escorts. The first time I had properly driven my car was from the service park to scrutineering because we only got the tax and MOT through on the Friday morning.

“We only had a couple of problems all weekend, the main one being that second gear in the gearbox must be worn out because it wouldn’t stay in gear so I had to drive one handed a lot of the time holding it in.

“The only other problem was that the fuel gauge broke so we had to fill the car up at every petrol station we found to make sure we didn’t run out.”

On the calls for a probe into the WRC timing system, Andrew Coe, chief executive of Wales Rally GB organisers IMS, says it’s important to establish what went wrong.

“We’re very disappointed, not least for our competitors,” he said.

“We’re running a major sporting event and failures like this, whatever the cause, tend to be blamed on the event. But this is absolutely not the fault of Wales Rally GB.

“We are required to use and pay for the full costs of the Championship system. We are of the view that the system has features, particularly in relation to vehicle tracking, which represent a step forward for our sport. However, if, as has been reported, the system has been subject to a hacking attack, which is not unusual during major sporting events, then it is vital that the provider ensures that every possible security measure and safeguard is put in place to avoid this situation happening again in the future. For the moment we are still awaiting a formal explanation, or apology, for what went wrong.

“IMS are now working to manually process the results for the national events using raw data obtained from our own time card system and we apologise for the delay and inconvenience this has caused the amateur teams and crews who have supported Wales Rally GB this year. We are aiming to finalise and publish these results within the next 24-48 hours.”