The overall winner of International Yorkshire, the fifth round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, became inevitable as the single day event progressed. Guy Wilks was dominant on gravel again, after taking victory on the first...
The overall winner of International Yorkshire, the fifth round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, became inevitable as the single day event progressed. Guy Wilks was dominant on gravel again, after taking victory on the first event back in April, he set fastest time on all but three of the day's eleven stages.
"We had no idea of the pace to set," he said, "so we just had to push hard from the start. But you know you're trying when there's 128mph on the clock as you come into the 'Woodyard'. These fast stages certainly get the heart ticking but we were able to manage the speed after opening a gap early on." He concluded, "It's a shame that Gwyndaf (Evans) missed out on second but the Mitsubishi Motors UK team did a great job again and it stands us in good stead for Rally GB."
Second place was gifted to current Championship leader Mark Higgins on the last stage of the day, when Evans had a 10 pence clip come loose on the gear linkage. The Stobart TEG Sport driver admitted he had been trying to keep the pressure on him all day. He joked, "I'd like to thank Mitsubishi for helping me bag a few more points," but added, "I feel bad for Gwyndaf, he's had a rough time, but it helps our championship hopes."
Another moving up a place to take his second podium of the year was Mark's brother David. His newly acquired Team TQ.com Subaru had lost time early on when he came over a crest and came across a digger in the middle of the road, "We were well on in fifth gear and probably squeezed past at 100mph, "he said, "It threw my confidence for the rest of the stage."
The British Teams Championship has a different look at the top after Wyn Humphreys Stobart TEG Sport Impreza retired with suspension problems. Mitsubishi Motors UK now lead by seven points from their Subaru rivals, after Wilks' won and Evans' took fourth place. David Higgins and Hugh Evans netted a good points haul for Team TQ.com, extending their lead over Dealer Team Suzuki by one point with two scoring opportunities remaining.
Stefan Davis took the Rally 3 class after another dramatic event. The car wouldn't start, he had a moment backward into the trees and his suspension collapsed, but despite all this he finished with a grin. Darren Gass had better luck early on after the team fitted a new engine on Wednesday night. Unfortunately electrical gremlins put him out in the afternoon and without Super Rally, he scores zero.
Rally 2 was won by BRC newcomer Frazer Jones who had registered before Rally Isle of Man. He beat Dealer Team Suzuki's James Wozencroft who had a clean run but was giving away horsepower to the two litre Fiesta. Wozencroft was awarded the Pirelli Star Driver nomination, adding his name to the list of finalists who will go to the end of year shootout.
Lorna Smith and Joanne Oakey took their Suzuki Swift to the finish in one piece and with it Lorna secured the MSA British Rally Championship Ladies title. The pair has had a busy and successful year, recently returning from Cork, having won the Class N2 title in the Irish Tarmac Championship.
The C2R2Cup was won by Martin Laverty whose careful approach paid dividends. Jason Pritchard and George Thomas retired with transmission problems, leaving Kazutomo Kusama a delighted second and Martin Roberts third.
The Diesel Cup proved that chivalry is not dead at the last gasp. After rolling his BMW 120D heavily early on, Fin McCaul's battered car was seen at the final service with another car in tow. Steve Graham's AstraD had gone off into a bank on the final stage holing the radiator, so Fin came to the rescue and the pair of damaged cars arrived at service, Graham finishing ahead of McCaul.