Dynamic Duo grab a deserved double! Rallying hero Jonny Milner gave the Yorkshire crowd what they wanted as he lifted his second consecutive Pirelli British Rally Championship title at the weekend. Huggate resident Milner finished second...
Dynamic Duo grab a deserved double!
Rallying hero Jonny Milner gave the Yorkshire crowd what they wanted as he lifted his second consecutive Pirelli British Rally Championship title at the weekend. Huggate resident Milner finished second overall on the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire to join the likes of Colin McRae as back to back double winners of the coveted national series.
The Team Dynamics Alloy Wheels and Pirelli backed Toyota Corolla World Rally Car had not finished outside of the Top 2 on any rounds of the series so far this year, in a crushing display of pace and consistency from Milner and his Wrexham born co-driver Nicky Beech. Just four points were required on Jonny's home rally in the famous North Yorkshire forests in order for the team to take a well earned second title.
Most onlookers were expecting Jonny to take it very easy with a comparatively simple task in hand. However, after the first forest stage, Milner led the rally overall. A slightly too soft tyre choice cost the 2002 Trackrod Rally winners some time over the next loop of stages, as the expected battle for the lead between Finn's Tapio Laukkanen and Jari-Matti Latvala commenced.
Milner was able to sit back and let the two rivals battle it out for the lead on the very high speed stages of Dalby, Cropton and Gale Rigg. Despite driving for a finish, Milner's pace was ultra consistent as he was continually setting Top 3 times throughout the day.
A switch to harder compound Pirelli K-pattern tyres for the remainder of the event gave Milner better front end grip, although Jonny lost a small amount of time catching the dust of the limping Ford Puma of Ryan Champion at one point. Fortunately Ryan soon realised Jonny was behind him and Jonny got past without problems and without a significant time loss.
Early on the second morning, Jari-Matti Latvala took the lead as he turned up the heat in his Ford Focus WRC, as Jonny found himself a comfortable 3rd overall, over a minute clear of fourth placed Austin McHale. Things were about to change though, as Latvala overshot a junction and lost over a minute and a half in Langdale, promoting Milner and Beech to second behind Laukkanen.
After swapping fastest stage times throughout the event, the top three of Laukkanen, Milner and Latvala held station to the end of the rally, giving Jonny and Nicky their second consecutive titles:
"I'm absolutely thrilled to be British Rally Champion again!" said Jonny at the finish in Malton. "We've worked so hard all year to get the results, and the support of Team Dynamics, Pirelli and all of our sponsors has just been fantastic. Nicky has done a brilliant job on the notes, and my whole team have worked 100% to make sure that we were in a position to win this championship today. Of course its brilliant to have won the title in Yorkshire, and it would have been nice to win the rally as well - but fair play to Tapio and Jari-Matti who both really went well this weekend. I'm just over the moon to have won the British Rally Championship back to back. Its an amazing feeling."
Nicky commented "It was an extremely well organised rally that deserves a great deal of credit for trying to put on a good show to the public. Jonny drove faultlessly all weekend, and I can honestly say that neither of us recall any "moments" to speak of along the way. It was a good clean run all the way to the finish, and I'm delighted that both Jonny and myself have sewn up the Driver's and Co-Drivers titles with one round to go.
Its been a difficult weekend in terms of pressure, but we knew that a clean run would give us a good result. To have finished every rally this year in either first or second overall is testament to the quality of our whole team and shows that the Toyota Corolla WRC, running on Toyota Genuine Motor Oil, is still a reliable and potent force in the right hands. We simply could not ask for any more from this year. We've given everything to be able to celebrate winning these titles today."
The final round of the championship is the Tempest Stages in Aldershot on October 26th.
Trackrod Rally Yorkshire - Final Top Three Positions:
1. Tapio Laukkanen / Ilkka Riipinen - Subaru Impreza WRC - 184.108.40.206.
2. Jonny Milner / Nicky Beech - Toyota Corolla WRC + 48.6 seconds.
3. Jari-Matti Latvala / Mika Antilla - Ford Focus WRC01 + 1 min 27 secs.