East Anglia's top rally driver David Mann is celebrating today after lifting his first ever outright British National Rally title. Mann finished 6th overall on this weekend's Bulldog Rally to claim the title of 2003 KUMHO National Rally ...
East Anglia's top rally driver David Mann is celebrating today after lifting his first ever outright British National Rally title. Mann finished 6th overall on this weekend's Bulldog Rally to claim the title of 2003 KUMHO National Rally Champion.
Mann and co-driver Alun Cook from Caerphilly only required a ninth placed points finish or better in order to secure the title in their KUMHO Tyres backed Subaru Impreza 555. The Flixton driver didn't put a wheel wrong as he settled into a very steady pace, and was justly rewarded for his consistent performances this season.
Whilst Mann was able to cruise to the finish, outgoing KUMHO Champion Mark Perrott gave a clear reminder of how he won the championship in 2002 with a tremendous performance to take the overall win on the Bulldog Rally. An early misfire in the Sweet Lamb stage cost the Leominster man some time, but he soon recovered to take an excellent victory, the first for co-driver Graham Hopewell.
Chasing Perrott and chasing his own title dreams was Roger Duckworth. Duckworth needed to win the rally and hope that Mann could not score any points in order to take the title. The Northampton driver kept his foot in all day as he recovered from a cracked brake disc to claim a hard earned second overall.
Just behind Duckworth came Andy Burton. The Lyonshall potato king suffered an agonising day of punctures in his raucous Peugeot-Cosworth hybrid. In between deflations, Burton was unstoppable, climbing from 28th to 3rd overall by the end. It was an awe inspiring performance from Andy and co-driver John Roberts.
4th overall at the finish was the 2002 Bulldog Rally winner Julian Reynolds. Julian driving a brand new Subaru Impreza WRX Group N car, fresh from Prodrive. The Narberth man was once again enjoying his outing on the KUMHO series, as he took a well earned victory in the Production Cup category.
Rounding out the Top 5 was series veteran Steve Petch in his Hyundai Accent WRC. Celebrating a ten year partnership with co-driver John Richardson, Petch was having a very enjoyable day as he avoided trouble to finish fifth.
Evo Challenge honours went to Anthony Wilmington, as he finished just ahead of the Hydrex backed Lancer of Nik Elsmore/Cliffy Simmons. Wilmington's co-driver Andy White took the Evo Challenge Co-driver's title as the pair claimed their third win of the season, and the second in a row. A suspect fuel pump was their only concern on the way to 14th overall.
Third in the category when to Newton Aycliffe driver Tony Thompson with co-driver Ian Windress. The pair would later receive the Kumho Stars of the Rally Award for immediately stopping to help the Hyundai of Paul Bird which had caught fire at the rear end. Fortunately neither Bird or co-driver Larry Carter suffered any injuries, and the car was not too badly damaged.
Ian Barrett scooped the Junior award on the event in his ClothingTeam.com backed Subaru, and 18 year old Ed Stallard took the championship win in Class A5 after a gutsy performance in his Peugeot 106 Rallye. Wrexham co-driver John Youd guiding the youngster to success once again, as Kevin Wills fought valiantly with a broken rear beam in his Nissan Micra. Steve Petch Jnr and co-driver Michael Wilkinson took a deserved class win on the day, as they survived a very slow puncture to take the points in their Ford KA.
Class A6 saw Mike Coomber and Jez Pole take the win in their Proton, run by Geoff Jones Motorsport. Coomber ending the season just three points behind A6 and Super 1600 Kumho Championship winner Andy Gwynne. The Corsa driver retired with engine problems late in the day, as Olly Marshall and Craig Parry took second in class. Marshall competing on Kumho Tyres for the first time this year. Richard Ceen also had reason to celebrate, as he claimed the A8 Class title after a consistent year for the former International co-driver.
Steve Blunt and Bob Duck once again took home the points in Class N3, ahead of the husband and wife duo, Dave and Pamela Hull. David Young was once again an easy victor in Class B11, as the series ended on a high. All the championship battles have now been decided after a frenetic final round of the Kumho Championship, with the following drivers finishing in the top ten championship positions:
David Mann 123 points.
Roger Duckworth 115 points.
Brendan Crealey 96 points (Production Cup).
Martyn Harrison 84 points.
Andy Burton 80 points.
Steve Petch 79 points.
Anthony Wilmington 70 points.
Tony Thompson 65 points.
Bob Ceen 62 points.
Steve Palmer 58 points.