Steve Graham and brother Tony will be delighted and relieved to have taken victory in the 2009 MSA British Rally Championship's Diesel Rally Cup. Not only because they have been runners up for two years, but because business commitments mean they...
Steve Graham and brother Tony will be delighted and relieved to have taken victory in the 2009 MSA British Rally Championship's Diesel Rally Cup. Not only because they have been runners up for two years, but because business commitments mean they cannot contest the final round, Rally Yorkshire later this month.
The SPG Rally Team began the new season with reigning champion Fin McCaul threatening to take a hat-trick of victories in the category specifically designed for "oil-burners". But propshaft failure on his BMW handed victory to the brothers Graham, opening their account with maximum points.
The Pirelli saw the brothers lead from the start, but after missing the recce, the daylight of Saturday allowed McCaul and Huw Mathias to push, eventually passing the Vauxhall Astra D to take victory by just less than fifteen seconds.
With neither crew finishing the Jim Clark Rally, McCaul succumbing to gearbox problems while Graham went off on stage fourteen, the battle was rejoined on the Isle of Man.
Here Graham took victory after McCaul struggled again with gearbox selector problems, but with the Irishman unable to contest the Ulster, it was down to the Grahams to get their distinctive Eco liveried car to the finish on the Northern Irish lanes.
It was therefore on Irish tarmac that the brothers cruised to their first Diesel Cup title, delighted to also take third in the BRC's Rally 3 class on the event.
The easy going team will be missed on the fast gravel roads of the North Yorkshire forests, not least because in their efforts to make themselves heard, they have been entertaining competitors and spectators alike with a choice of music.
Steve explains, "We love rallying this car. It is very quick for a diesel and ultra economical; we nearly completed a full day on the Ulster on one tank of fuel! But it's too quiet, so we've fitted a loudspeaker under the bonnet. Tony has his MP3 player plugged in and we play loud music on the stages, our favourite on the Ulster was "Road to Hell" by Chris Rea."
The MSA British Rally Championship's Diesel Rally Cup is open to any homologated diesel car and while the 2009 championship is sewn up, Steve and Tony will be looking for more opposition when they defend their title next year.