They are entered in an ex-works Subaru Impreza WRC S12, in which Petter Solberg claimed three top 10 finishers in the 2006 World Rally Championship; now prepared by Melvyn Evans Motorsport – no strangers to island motor sport – it will be backed by Swann's long-term UK sponsors Revolution Wheels and Barbados businesses Automate CGI and Waves Hotel and Spa.
Swann and Garrod's Group N win in Barbados last year came on their third visit to the island: in 2008, after a promising start on Saturday in their Impreza N11, they slipped back to finish an eventual fourth; the following year, with the new N14 and better knowledge of the stages, they enjoyed a classic battle with winning Bajan driver Geoff Noel and Trinidad-based Jamaican John Powell, splitting the two at the finish.
Last year, a perfect set of stage wins on Saturday morning's stages gave them an advantage they were not to lose, their margin of victory less than 7secs over Noel; afterwards, Swann said: "We had to win this rally on Saturday, so that's what we set out to do . . . but that spin at Stewarts Hill on Sunday could have spoiled it all!"
Of his target for 2011, Swann said this week: "I'm not too good at sticking my head above the parapet, but I'll stick my neck out – yes, winning Sol Rally Barbados is the target. I realise this isn't going to be easy. Speed isn't an issue, I've learned a lot about the stages over the past three years . . . really, what's important will be seat time."
This will not be Swann's first outing in a World Rally Car, having enjoyed what he describes as "a reasonable run" to second place on the Premier Stages in John Lloyd's Ford Focus WRC02 two years ago; he said: "It was a lot of fun to drive, but it was left-hand drive and had a paddle shift, which was rather alien."
The plan is to spend a day shaking the Impreza down in the UK, then use the Shell V-Power King of the Hill as a final test before the big event. Swann added: "The car is good, Peter Lloyd won the Epynt Stages in it last year, and of course Melvyn Evans is familiar with Barbados, having worked with Paul Bourne in the past – Melvyn will be coming with us to run the car, with a couple of technicians. And it's right-hand-drive, Peter won't drive anything else, which is a real bonus . . . but I've got to be honest: to try and come to win is a big ask, but it really would be fun to mix it up a bit."
Local competitors reminded of closing date
With two months left before the May 6 closing date, entries are flowing in fast to the official Sol Rally Barbados 2011 web site (www.rallybarbados.bb), prompting organisers to warn local competitors to go on-line and enter.
Sol Rally Barbados Chairman Barry Gale said: "I have been watching the entries for Sol Rally Barbados roll through my inbox, and I have to say I am encouraged by what I see. We already have a very healthy overseas contingent, with another five or six promising to enter within the next two or three weeks.
"Based on rumours I have heard, flying, surfing - and even mousing - around, it seems we may reach our coveted target of 10 World Rally Cars, which would be a fantastic achievement for our event and a record for the Caribbean.
"What I have also noted, though, is this - to date, there are around 35 locals who competed last year but have yet to enter, and I know of a few more new car owners who intend to enter, but have yet to do so . . . and that makes the race for the remaining 26 local spots allowed by the ASRs a tight one. Will this be the year that local competitors don't get in because they entered late?