UK: Astra Rally Clubman summary

Pearcey makes it two from two in North Wales. Tim Pearcey and Mick Johnson made it two wins from two starts in the 2004 Kumho Clubman Rally Championship, as they recovered from engine problems prior to the event and a very unwell co-driver to...

Pearcey makes it two from two in North Wales.

Tim Pearcey and Mick Johnson made it two wins from two starts in the 2004 Kumho Clubman Rally Championship, as they recovered from engine problems prior to the event and a very unwell co-driver to take a fine victory on the soaking wet Astra Stages Clubman Rally.

The Yorkshire duo made the most of their excellent form on the recent Kall Kwik Rally to win the event by just over 41 seconds from a flying Alistair Adams and Andy Ballantyne. Adams has revamped his Escort RS extensively over the winter period, and the Bewdley man decided to register for Kumho Championship points at the very last minute before the event. Adams mounted a fierce charge on the final two stages to overhaul series stalwarts James Potter and Allan McDowall.

Potter started well, along with another series regular, Steve Magson, who was third overall after the first stage of the day. Unfortunately for the SM Autocare backed driver from Pickering, it was to be the first and last full stage of the day. A broken halfshaft in his unique Vauxhall Astra RWD meant that Steve and co-driver Geoff Atkinson would take an early bath in the Welsh forests.

Pearcey however was flying. The Yorkshire driver well and truly in command after the first three stages, despite an engine problem prior to the event that Magson sportingly helped to rectify. Pearcey's co-driver Mick Johnson wasn't in such good form though. Being physically sick after the fourth stage was just part of the problems as he felt unwell inside the car all day long.

McDowall recovered from two early punctures to climb further up the leaderboard in his impressive Opel Kadett, the Tarbolton man forced to run on part won tyres for the final couple of stages. Although the Scotsman kept out of trouble, he felt that the second hand rubber definitely cost him some time at the end of the event. Just behind McDowall, series newcomers Dave Brick and Phil Clarke were having an excellent day in their Ford Escort RS. The Shropshire crew loving the Welsh stages as they slid their way round to a fine fifth overall by the end.

Chasing Brick all the way was Andy Gwynne and co-driver Holly Robinson. The Motorsport Direct Cup registered duo had a day to remember in their Vauxhall Corsa Kit Car - for reasons good and bad. Gwynne suffered suspension damage, five spins, a puncture, and also did six miles of one stage stuck in third gear! Despite that the Gloucester man battled on till the end, claiming the Motorsport Direct Cup honours and sixth overall - and the Kumho Competitor of the Rally Award for his never say die efforts.

Escort drivers Peter Rayner, Paul Hall and Tim Jones all put in commendable performances to fill the lower top ten positions, whilst Motorsport Direct proprietor Iain Shirlaw finally had a clean run in his Proton Satria Kit Car, as he finished 10th overall and second in the 1600 class behind Gwynne after a highly enjoyable outing the ex-Martin Meadows machine.

David Beesley took second in the Motorsport Direct Cup in his Corsa, whilst Brian McGuinness enjoyed a great start to the event until transmission problems halted him on the second stage, and Colin Hope rolled out of the event in the tricky conditions.

The Kumho Clubman Rally Championship does not follow the National series to the Isle of Man, so the Championship battle will continue in the forests of Mid Wales when the competitors contest the Mutiny Rally on June 5th.

-kcrc-

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