Rally re­ports

Motor Sport News - - Front Page - Swift Signs Christ­mas Stages Rally By Larry Carter Or­gan­iser: Northaller­ton Au­to­mo­bile Club Ltd When: De­cem­ber 27, 2015 Where: Croft Cir­cuit, North York­shire Cham­pi­onship: 2015 AS Per­for­mance North of Eng­land Tar­ma­cadam Rally Cham­pi­onship Stages: 8 St

Lo­cal ace Kevin Proc­ter took his sev­enth vic­tory in eight years on Northaller­ton AC’S pop­u­lar fes­tive fix­ture as he and co-driver Dave Bellerby eased to an­other com­fort­able win at Croft Cir­cuit.

De­spite the lo­cal flood­ing chaos and tor­ren­tial rain the day be­fore, the day dawned dry, bright and mild, en­sur­ing a crowd of thou­sands at the York­shire race­track. With slick tyres the or­der of the day, the Subaru WRC pair­ing of Proc­ter/bellerby was im­me­di­ately on the case on SS1 to lead Tony Bardy/neil Col­man (Ford Fo­cus WRC) by two sec­onds, with Ryan and Jemma Cham­pion’s ex-works Group A-spec Subaru a fur­ther six sec­onds back in third.

Proc­ter in­creased his lead on SS2 to 21 sec­onds over Cham­pion as Bardy slipped to third, but it was the Pro­ton Milling­ton of Barry Ren­wick/steve Dargan that was quickly find­ing its pace and, by SS3, the duo had taken over in se­cond place.

By half­way, Proc­ter’s lead was up to 36 sec­onds over Ren­wick, with Bardy 12s fur­ther adrift in third. Ian and Stephen Wood­house held fourth, just three sec­onds ahead of fel­low Ford Es­cort Mk2 pair­ing Paul and Jes­sica Swift. The Subaru WRC of John Cope and Ar­ron Newby had risen to sixth af­ter Cham­pion dropped 30 sec­onds when he sideswiped a chi­cane.

No sooner had the bumper crowd stopped buzzing from Mal­colm Wil­son demon­strat­ing the ex-hannu Mikkola Audi quat­tro Sport in the lunchtime re­cess than the ac­tion re­con­vened on the stages. Proc­ter wasn’t fastest for once but still in­creased his lead. The hon­our of top time went to the Wood­house pair­ing. A big spin cost Proc­ter 10 sec­onds on SS6, but he still held a half-minute ad­van­tage as dusk fell just be­fore the penul­ti­mate stage.

A huge ef­fort by Proc­ter put him fastest again to in­crease his lead over Ren­wick by 21 sec­onds on SS7 to lead by nearly a minute, while Bardy re­lin­quished his third place due to an oil pres­sure prob­lem that forced him to pull into re­tire­ment.

The event was Proc­ter’s to lose head­ing into the fi­nal stage, but he made no mis­takes and ran out a com­fort­able win­ner by 57 sec­onds over the spir­ited Ren­wick, who in turn claimed his best Christ­mas Stages re­sult. Wood­house fin­ished third – de­spite a 10-se­cond penalty for cor­ner cut­ting – just 10 sec­onds back was Swift, suf­fer­ing badly from the flu, in fourth. Cope took fifth on his Croft de­but, while Cham­pion, cour­tesy of fastest time on the fi­nal stage in the bat­tered ex-piero Li­atti/di­dier Au­riol car just pipped Steve and Seb Perez, in their ex-markko Martin Fo­cus WRC, for sixth.

Class 1 staged an epic bat­tle be­tween Joe Cun­ning­ham/marc Fowler (Vaux­hall Corsa) and Mat and Amanda Smith (Pro­ton Sa­tria) that went the for­mer’s way by seven sec­onds. In an equally com­pet­i­tive Class 2, Barry and Michael Lind­say (Peu­geot 106) beat the Vaux­hall Corsa of Mark and An­drew Con­stan­tine by a mere six sec­onds. Late en­tries Dar­ren Moon/robin Shut­tle­worth (Ford Es­cort) beat Ed­ward Todd and Andy Brown’s GTM by 12 sec­onds to win Class 3, with the Swifts tak­ing Class 4 and Cope/ Newby vic­to­ri­ous in Class 5.

Re­sults 1 Kevin Proc­ter/ Dave Bellerby (Subaru Im­preza WRC) 54m09s; 2 Barry Ren­wick/ Steve Dargan (Pro­ton Milling­ton) +57s; 3 Ian Wood­house/ Stephen Wood­house (Ford Es­cort); 4 Paul Swift/jes­sica Swift (Ford Es­cort); 5 John Cope/ar­ron Newby (Subaru WRC); 6 Ryan Cham­pion/jemma Cham­pion (Subaru 555); 7 Steve Perez/ Seb Perez (Ford Fo­cus WRC); 8 David Wright/ Michael Wilkinson (Ford Es­cort); 9 Graeme Bell/ Russ Rad­ford (Ford Es­cort); 10 Peter Smith/ Gra­ham Wild (MG Metro 6R4).

Class win­ners 1: Joe Cun­ning­ham/ Marc Fowler (Vaux­hall Corsa); 2: Barry Lind­say/ Michael Lind­say (Peu­geot 106); 3: Dar­ren Moon/ Robin Shut­tle­worth (Ford Es­cort Mk2); 4; Wood­house/ Wood­house (Es­cort Mk2); 5: Proc­ter/ Bellerby.

Ral­ly­cross driver Proc­ter was im­pres­sive Ren­wick pushed hard in the Pro­ton Milling­ton

Mal­colm and Matthewwil­son gave the Christ­mas Stages crowd a sight to re­mem­ber as they demon­strated an ex-hannu Mikkola Group B Audi quat­tro.the car be­longs to Steve Perez, who was com­pet­ing in his ex-markko Martin Ford Fo­cuswrc (right). Ryan Cham­pion also brought out his ex-works Subaru Im­preza for a rare ap­pear­ance (far right).the Group A-spec car was cam­paigned by Piero Li­atti and Di­dier Au­riol.

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