Rally re­ports

Motor Sport News - - In This Issue - By Ian Har­den Pho­tos: Roy Demp­ster, Ral­lipho­to­swales

Or­gan­iser: Club Rally Sport West When: Jan­uary 23/24 Where: Brean Leisure Park, Burn­ham-on-sea, Som­er­set Cham­pi­onships: ASWMC Sealed Sur­face, AWMMC Heart of Eng­land; CMSG; Stages: 12 Starters: 96

Fast but con­sis­tent driv­ing on a greasy stage sur­face paid div­i­dends for Steve and Yvonne Furze­land, who got their 2016 sea­son off to a good start by tak­ing a well-crafted win on the Brean Stages in their Subaru Im­preza WRC.

They beat Ian God­ney/christo­pher Gif­ford, also Subaru Im­prezamounted, by 1m08s, with Philip Hop­kins/david Jenk­ins (Mit­subishi Lancer E6) in third po­si­tion.

A win­ter en­gine re­build gave Furze­land the abil­ity to set the pace in the early miles. He was chased by the Mit­subishi Lancer E9s of Phil Turner/ Si­mon An­thony and Oliver Hop­kins/ Ash­ley Trim­ble. God­ney held fourth place af­ter the open­ing test but was chal­lenged by Rick and Siob­han Bliss, the hus­band-and-wife team us­ing their Honda Civic’s han­dling to the full.

Un­for­tu­nately, the rally did not go well for third seeds, Gary Le Coadou/ Bill Payn­ter. Plagued by me­chan­i­cal prob­lems, they lan­guished in 83rd place af­ter stage one. They tried to fight back but their Toy­ota Corolla WRC suc­cumbed to a bro­ken gear­box on stage four.

De­spite a scare when his rear diff started leak­ing oil, Furze­land steadily ex­tended his lead dur­ing Satur­day af­ter­noon. God­ney changed onto full wet tyres and moved up to se­cond place on stage three, over­haul­ing Turner, who was feel­ing un­well. Im­me­di­ately be­hind, Philip Hop­kins sur­vived slid­ing onto the grass on stage four to hold Oliver Hop­kins at bay. But Oliver, driv­ing his new Group N Lancer E9 for the first time, fought back to fin­ish Satur­day 11 sec­onds ahead of his brother.

Sun­day’s grey over­cast weather made the stages even more slip­pery, but the con­di­tions failed to faze Furze­land, who stayed trou­ble-free on his way to set­ting fastest time on five of the day’s six stages.

God­ney’s full-on spir­ited driv­ing style started to catch him out and he had sev­eral col­li­sions with stage-side ob­sta­cles. Th­ese in­cluded a tyre bar­rier that dented his driver’s door, and a wheelie bin, which dam­aged the front end. On the fi­nal stage he still had hopes of pres­sur­ing Furze­land into a mis­take. But they evap­o­rated at the stage split; the Welsh­man spun his Im­preza and the con­se­quent time loss set­tled the is­sue in Furze­land’s favour.

Third-placed Philip Hop­kins set a storm­ing pace through­out the Sun­day stages. Ad­mit­ting to be­ing over-cau­tious late on Satur­day, he made amends with fastest time on stage seven and took third place on stage nine. “We’ve beaten a cou­ple of WRC cars as well!” he hap­pily an­nounced at the fin­ish.

Turner drove bravely to take fourth, de­spite con­tin­u­ing to feel un­well. He fin­ished eight sec­onds ahead of Jim Mun­den/andy Frost, the for­mer Ford Es­cort Mk2 crew con­tin­u­ing their learn­ing curve with their new Subaru Im­preza. Oliver Hop­kins rounded out the top six, ahead of Tim Self/colin Mitchell. Their Im­preza ar­rived at scru­ti­neer­ing straight from a pre-sea­son en­gine re­build.

Fur­ther down the field, Jack Gubb and new co-driver Matthew Davis (Vaux­hall Nova) won Class A, hold­ing off the per­sis­tent chal­lenge of Ed Lambert/ Gareth Dray­ton (Peu­geot 106). Class B went to Rick/siob­han Bliss (Honda Civic) on their first ever rally to­gether, while the ever-con­sis­tent Josh Pay­ton/ Mar­cus Mizen won Class C in their Es­cort Mk2. “We rolled it in Ire­land last year, so it’s been reshelled,” said Pay­ton. Ge­off Ben­nett / Mike Ste­wart slith­ered their pow­er­ful Es­cort Mk2 to Class D vic­tory.

Re­sults 1 Steve Furze­land/yvonne Furze­land (Subaru Im­preza S12 WRC) 1h06m48s; 2 Ian God­ney/ Christo­pher Gif­ford (Subaru Im­preza WRC); 1m08s; 3 Philip Hop­kins/ David Jenk­ins (Mit­subishi Lancer E6); 4 Phil Turner/ Si­mon An­thony (Mit­subishi Lancer E9); 5 Jim Mun­den/andy Frost (Subaru Im­preza); 6 Oliver Hop­kins/ash­ley Trim­ble (Mit­subishi Lancer E9); 7 Tim Self/ Colin Mitchell (Subaru Im­preza S14); 8 Josh Pay­ton/ Mar­cus Mizen (Ford Es­cort Mk2); 9 Tony Mun­den/ David Per­rot (Subaru Im­preza); 10 Rick Bliss/ Siob­han Bliss (Honda Civic). Class win­ners A: Jack Gubb/ Matthew Davis (Vaux­hall Nova); B: Bliss/ Bliss; C: Pay­ton/ Mizen; D: Ge­off Ben­nett/ Mike Ste­wart (Ford Es­cort Mk2); E: Furze­land/ Furze­land.

Brean Stages Rally En­gine re­build did the job for the Furzelands

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