UK’s Youngest Rally Crew Runs on Yokohama
The UK’s youngest competing rally crew, 17-year old driver Kris Hall and co-driver Ella Flynn, 16, have attracted the attention of one of the most forward-looking organisations currently involved in rallying; Eddie Stobart. Stobart already has an impressive reputation for spotting and supporting emerging talent and its support for Kris and Ella further reinforces what many believe; that this crew has a big future in rallying.
Kris and Ella are the youngest a competing rally crew can be in the UK, since the minimum age to obtain a rally license is 17, once the driver has gained his road license and the minimum age for application for a co-driver license is 16. They are competing in the 1600cc class of the 2007 Yokohama 205 Challenge, which is using Yokohama control tyres for all four classes for the next three years. However, despite their ages, Kris and Ella are already enjoying success together.
On only their second competitive outing, the Malcolm Wilson Rally in February, they surmounted a time loss of one minute due to engine problems on the first stage to come through and win their class by almost a minute and give a hint of what was to come.
This was enough to make Stobart take notice and decide to support the pairing as they chase the 1600cc title in the Yokohama Challenge. Stobart already has a knack of supporting some of the most promising up-and-coming stars of motorsport, including Matthew Wilson and Jari-Matti Latvala in the FIA World Rally Championship and Barry Clark in the FIA Junior Rally Championship. So Kris and Ella are in excellent company.
The support was announced on the eve of the pair’s outing at a single-venue event at the Weeton Army camp in Lancashire. This was treated as a shakedown for the first event of the Yokohama Challenge.
Kris and Ella suffered problems early on, which dropped them from third in class to ninth but they fought their way back up the leaderboard throughout the rest of the day, staying out of trouble and enjoying a problem-free run. They went on to finish the event 16th overall and third in the 1600cc class, picking up a trophy for third in class, the Under 23 trophy and also the trophy for Best Mixed Crew.
Kris raised a few more eyebrows at the awards ceremony, when he dropped the Under 23 Trophy but luckily, Ella was presented with the glass Mixed Crew trophy, so it survived to reach a mantelpiece.
Kris and Ella maintained their run of form on the debut of the 2007 Yokohama 205 Challenge at Driffield in Yorkshire, finishing the event sixth overall and second in the 205 Challenge, out of 54 starters. This means they are now second in the championship, behind Matt Smith, who finished the rally second overall and first 205. Smith so impressed the eventual winner, Andy Baker in a heavily-modified Peugeot 205, that Baker offered to sponsor Smith for the rest of the season.
The next round of the 2007 Yokohama 205 Challenge takes place on the tarmac of the Epynt military ranges for the 1900cc class on 5/6 May while the 1400cc, 1600cc and RWD BMWs will be out next at Twyford on 27 May.