MARK HIGGINS MAKES IT THREE IN A ROW
Mark Higgins and Rory Kennedy held their nerve to take victory on the Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship with a winning margin of over a minute from rival Guy Wilks.
"We had a decent lead after Guy's off but we've still been pushing fairly hard to keep the concentration up." He said at the final service before the finish ramp. "It is a fantastic result for the Atlas TEG Sport team and the second BRC win in a row in Ulster, I'm delighted." [AUDIO]
The result puts them closer to a fourth British Rally Championship title, closing to within two points of his brother David who finished fifth, but the teams and drivers will be starting to look at dropped scores, with three points scoring opportunities remaining. Atlas TEG sport [AUDIO] has extended the lead in the Teams Championship, now thirteen points clear of Team TQ.com
Wilks and David Moynihan had problems with the rear differential, costing them around thirty seconds, which was compounded by an off which tore off a wheel, dropping them even further back. They could not close the gap once the rain came, so settled for second place ahead of their new team-mate.
Gwyndaf Evans had been drafted in to replace Phillip Morrow in the second Mitsubishi Motors UK Lancer. He was joined by Paul Nagle and a clean run saw them take a creditable third place after a ten month lay-off for the 1996 BRC Champion.
But it was Morrow who took the fourth position in the Pirelli Star Driver shootout at the end of the year, impressing the judges with a mature drive in his new Atlas TEG Sport team. He also took fourth place in the BRC in a mature drive on home soil. Current Star Driver, Armagh's own Darren Gass had been fourth, but a roll and subsequent steering failure put him out of the event.
The Rally 3 class was settled in favour of Brian O'Mahony, his Clio Super 1600 struggling all rally with a down-on-power engine. He nearly lost the gearbox too on the final loop of stages, then bent a rear wishbone, but he still managed sixth overall in he BRC.
Rally 2 was blitzed by the Jim Clark Rally and International Pirelli Star Driver nominee again, Adam Gould's less powerful Clio taking eighth, a minor indiscretion with a bank the only evidence of any excursions.
The Citroen C2R2 Cup was also dominated, this time by Martin McCormack, who also took honours in the Irish Cup. It was his first finish in the BRC without using the Super Rally regulations, about which he was delighted.
The Suzuki Swift Sport Cup also threw up a dominant performance from Ross Forde, beating round one winner Gordon Nichol by a whisker over four minutes. The result leaves the Championship wide open as the crews all head off to the next round, Rally Yorkshire at he end of September.
The final class winner was Fin McCaul in the Diesel Cup, his BMW proving a match for the Astra of Steve Graham.