Martin Laverty proved that experience counts with his first Citroen C2R2 Cup win on International Rally Yorkshire this weekend. The oldest registered competitor in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship took a sensible approach to...
Martin Laverty proved that experience counts with his first Citroen C2R2 Cup win on International Rally Yorkshire this weekend.
The oldest registered competitor in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship took a sensible approach to the event and with Andrew Roughead alongside, their waiting game paid off when the young guns at the front hit trouble. "We had a poor start to the season," said the soft spoken Northern Irishman, "and I was torn between having a push and going for a finish." He concluded, "I guess we made the right decision and It's great to take our first win."
The event was led from the first stage by C2R2 Cup leader Jason Pritchard, who set a time just half a second per mile faster than George Thomas over the fast fourteen mile Givendale stage. Laverty was third, with Japanese driver Kazutomo Kusama back on his favoured gravel surface in fourth. Martin Roberts lay fifth having tested the car at the Higgins' rally school two weeks before. All the drivers reported some kind of drama on the opening stage which had inconsistent grip levels where there were damp patches.
By the first main service of the day at Pickering Showground, the order remained unchanged, although as time ticked by it was obvious that Pritchard had problems. Beaten on stage four by Laverty, he eventually arrived at the service area on a tow rope, the problem transmission related and terminal.
Thomas had already overhauled the series leader on the stages but he only managed another stage until he was hunting for gears. "I just went for the gear and there was nothing there." He explained by his service van.
Kusama may have been elevated to second, but his rally had got off to a crashing start, demolishing a chicane at 40 miles an hour on the very first stage. He was, however, much happier with his performance, and apart from finishing as he started with another demolition job on the final test, he had few problems. "The car lost power on a bump," he smiled with much improved English, "But it came back on the next stage on another bump!"
Martin Roberts had just one glitch on his first gravel event in the car, but it was a serious one when the gear linkage broke on stage four. It dropped him around four minutes; time that he would never recover.
The result leaves Pritchard at the top of the table, but the margin to Laverty in second is just one point. Thomas is now third, a further solitary point behind and even with dropped scores in mind, the series is still far too close to call with Rally GB remaining.
Two points scoring opportunities await the crews on the last day of November and first two days of December, with the final round also hosting the FIA World Rally Championship.