Richard Sykes Border Counties Rally summary

Border bonus for Sykes in second. Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes was in top form on the opening round of the 2003 Peugeot 206 Super Cup, narrowly missing out on victory in the category by just six seconds from Irishman Shaun Gallagher ...

Border bonus for Sykes in second.

Stourbridge rally driver Richard Sykes was in top form on the opening round of the 2003 Peugeot 206 Super Cup, narrowly missing out on victory in the category by just six seconds from Irishman Shaun Gallagher after a tenacious day long battle on the Border Counties Rally.

Partnered by Chelmsford's Mark Andrews, Trade Paint Services backed Sykes was immediately on the pace in the Jedburgh based event, using the gravel roads of the Kielder Forest on the Scottish border on Saturday March 22nd.

Early leader and pre event favourite Chris Moore took an early lead, with Sykes snapping at his heels, just two seconds down after the second stage. In typically tight Peugeot one make rally fashion, there was nothing to chose between the pair after four stages, with both drivers on an identical time and sharing the lead.

Unfortunately for Moore, an engine sensor problem severely affected the performance of his 206, removing him from the battle for the lead after a sterling effort. Quicks Peugeot supported Sykes eked out a four second lead over Gallagher in the penultimate stage, and with one stage to go, the Midlander looked set for victory.

Gallagher had other ideas, and took an astonishing ten seconds out of Richard on the final stage of the day, to take a six second victory after a very tough event. Rather than be downbeat about missing out on the win, Sykes was delighted to have been a pace setter and mixing it fair and square with favourites Gallagher and Moore:

"Its disappointing not to win when you get so close - but I think you could say that I'm used to that now! Shaun did a great job and I knew I'd lost a bit of time on a square right in the mid part of the last stage. All credit to him for taking the win, but I was delighted to have been consistently on the leading pace all day as I hadn't expected to be that close to the front pair.

The work I have done on my driving in pre season certainly appears to have paid dividends, and I must also say what a tremendous job Mark Andrews did on the notes today as well. He was superb and made a big difference to my confidence throughout.

We were both very nervous going into the last stage, but we came out with a great haul of points and also some excellent prize money. The car did not miss a beat all day, and all we did was change tyres and put fuel in it. I cannot wait for the second round of the championship now. As its in the same forests, I'll definitely be up for that and I'm sure it will prove to be another very tense battle - and that is music to my ears!"

The second round of the 2003 Peugeot 206 Super Cup takes place on April 26/27, on the Pirelli International Rally. The event is based in Gateshead and uses the same forests as the Border Counties Rally.

-jemsport-

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