Motor Sport News - - Report - Re­sults Pho­tos: Writ­tle Pho­to­graphic

They fin­ished 29 sec­onds ahead of last year’s win­ners Si­mon Mauger/ Jonathan Hawkins in their MG Metro 4M4, while Damian Cole/paul Mor­ris had to be con­tent with third place in their Ford Fi­esta WRC.

De­spite be­ing beaten by Cole on the short stage one, Simp­son made amends on the longer se­cond test to move into a three-se­cond lead. When the stages were re­peated as SS3 and four, the Im­preza driver in­creased his ad­van­tage over the Fi­esta pi­lot to eight sec­onds. “We were steady on the first loop as we used it to check our notes,” stated co-driver Walsh, the pair hav­ing missed the recce as they were com­pet­ing on the Mal­colm Wil­son Stages. The fifth test amal­ga­mated sec­tions of the first two stages, and Simp­son set the pace once again, ex­tend­ing his ad­van­tage to 15 sec­onds.

By now, it was Mauger who was in the run­ner-up spot. Af­ter set­ting equal se­cond fastest time on SS1, the Metro driver found the se­cond test slip­pery, but over the next three tests, he set a string of third-fastest times, be­fore chang­ing to harder tyres for the long fifth stage, where he took 16 sec­onds out of Cole to move up to se­cond place.

It had been a mixed morn­ing for Cole – fastest on stage one, only for high tyre pres­sures to slow him on SS2. A change of tyre and stiff­en­ing of dampers helped with two se­cond-fastest times, but he was sur­prised to have dropped so much time on the fifth test.

Just one place be­hind at this point were Adrian Spencer/mark Hewitt. The duo were quickly get­ting to grips with their new Im­preza WRC, con­sis­tently set­ting top four times. They would have been closer to Cole if they hadn’t lost time when they stalled at a stage four hair­pin.

Andy Fraser/michael Calvert were up to fifth be­fore clutch fail­ure halted their Dar­rian, as a change to more suit­able tyres al­lowed Richard Clews/ Carl Wil­liamson to in­herit the po­si­tion. A change of tyres also worked well for sixth-placed Bob Fow­den/paul Wakely in their sim­i­lar car, though a bad vi­bra­tion wor­ried them.

There was a nasty sur­prise for Simp­son/walsh on the penul­ti­mate test when their car caught fire at the fin­ish af­ter set­ting fastest time. With the fire ex­tin­guished, their ser­vice crew rec­ti­fied the fault and they rounded off a great win with fastest time on the fi­nal stage.

Af­ter be­ing slowed with fuel surge on SS6, Mauger was just three sec­onds down on Simp­son on the fi­nal stage, ce­ment­ing se­cond po­si­tion.

Cole had a lucky es­cape when he briefly left the road, al­low­ing Spencer to move to equal third. Thank­fully for Cole, a clean run on the fi­nal stage al­lowed him to re­tain third po­si­tion, as Spencer put in prob­a­bly the drive of the day to fin­ish fourth.

Be­hind Spencer, Eian Pritchard/ Steve Mcphee went on a late charge to move up to fifth in their Ford Fo­cus WRC, over­haul­ing Fow­den/wakely and Clews/wil­liamson, who ran out of suit­able tyres in the process.

Brothers Kevin and Charles Tap­pin had a great run to fin­ish lead­ing twowheel-drive run­ners in their Ford Es­cort Mk2, just ahead of Epynt debu­tant Ol­lie Mellors, who en­joyed the visit, as he and Ian Win­dress used the day to make pa­cenotes for the Nicky Grist Stages later this year.

Round­ing off the top 10 were Rob Tout/dy­lan James, who spent the day try­ing dif­fer­ent set­tings on their new Mit­subishi Lancer E 10.

Roger Mo­ran/den Gould­ing fin­ished 11th in their class-win­ning Es­cort, while among the class win­ners, Wynne Watkins/sher­ryn Roberts won Group N in their Subaru Im­preza and Jamie Jukes/david Wil­liams won the road rally cat­e­gory in their Vaux­hall Astra.

MAX (£14,000-£18,000)

Based on stan­dard en­gine us­ing a Gwynnespeed en­gine kit to in­clude Omex throt­tle bod­ies, Omex ECU, steel con­rods and forged pis­tons, up­rated cams and com­pe­ti­tion ex­haust man­i­fold 170bhp ap­prox AST sin­gle-way ad­justable sus­pen­sion Citroen C2 (VTR, VTS or GT) donor car Lim­ited slip dif­fer­en­tial Choice of brakes

Simp­son/walsh were on fire Tour of Epynt

Mauger re­turned in se­cond

Weather and stage was a tough test for the new car

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