PRITCHARD MAKES IT TWO FROM TWO IN WALES

Two out of two for Bri­tish His­toric duo. By Paul Lawrence

Motor Sport News - - Headline News -

Ja­son Pritchard and Phil Clarke made it two wins from two rounds in the Min­tex MSA Bri­tish His­toric Rally Cham­pi­onship as crews tack­led the sat­u­rated forests of Dyfi and Garthein­iog on Rally North Wales.

There were a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties to the sea­son-open­ing Red Kite. Pritchard again drove a canny rally to win as Nick El­liott and Dave Price fought to re­gain time lost when their en­gine stalled; Paul Bar­rett and Dai Roberts de­feated some more giants and Cat­e­gories 1, and 2 again fell to Bob and Dale Gib­bons and Stan­ley Orr and Guy Weaver.

“That’s an­other big re­sult on gravel,” said Pritchard of a typ­i­cally classy per­for­mance that left him 21s clear at the fin­ish. How­ever, El­liott’s spec­tac­u­lar fight back from his stage one de­lay had closed the gap to just eight sec­onds head­ing into the sec­ond Garthein­iog. A starter mo­tor that was start­ing to fry on that fi­nal stage then cost El­liott any re­main­ing chance of hunt­ing Pritchard down. “I pulled back what I could,” said El­liott af­ter a tan­gle with the bales at a chi­cane in Dyfi Main stalled the en­gine.

Brood­ing low cloud and mist hung over the top of Dyfi on Satur­day morn­ing and rain hit. Big pud­dles and stand­ing wa­ter lay in wait in the clas­sic stages and El­liott’s drama on the opener in Dyfi Main cost him dear. How­ever, Pritchard ar­rived a minute later and had to stop, be­fore pick­ing his way through the re­mains of the bales.

Pritchard ended the stage 16s up and over the next four stages El­liott man­aged to claw back half of the deficit as the two Ford Es­cort Mk2 crews set a fe­ro­cious pace. From the mod­ern en­tries, only Luke Fran­cis could bet­ter the his­toric times in his Mit­subishi Lancer E9.

Joe Price and Chris Brooks should have been third and were within half a minute of the lead­ers head­ing into the fi­nal stage. “We ran wide on a hair­pin a mile from the fin­ish and lost two min­utes,” said Price af­ter drop­ping to 10th. In­stead, third went to Matt Ed­wards and Will Rogers in a guest out­ing in Peter Smith’s Opel Kadett.

Paul Bar­rett and Dai Roberts lost a minute and a half driv­ing out of the first stage with a punc­ture, but then set the stages alight in their Pinto-es­cort to fight back from 38th to fourth. “Big at­tack,” said Bar­rett of one of the drives of the rally. “Ab­so­lutely bril­liant stages,” he added.

Bar­rett’s fourth place was at the ex­pense of Matthew Robin­son and Sam Col­lis who spent the day chas­ing the right tyres for the front of the Fiat 131.

A drive that should have been the sen­sa­tion of the rally came to an end on stage three when Adam Mil­ner and Roy Jarvis had a gen­tle roll in their 1600cc cross­flow Es­cort Mk1. The grow­ing phe­nom­e­non that is young Mil­ner set joint sec­ond fastest time in Dyfi Main, his first visit to that par­tic­u­lar for­est. They ran wide on a 90-right in Garthein­iog and ended up stuck down a bank with lit­tle dam­age but out of the rally.

Round­ing out the top six were Rudi Lan­caster and Ge­orge Gwynn, while a fab­u­lous bat­tle raged over sev­enth place and Cat­e­gory 2 vic­tory. Orr/ Weaver clob­bered a rock in the first Garthein­iog and bent a damper, while an in­spired Si­mon Tysoe/paul Mor­ris pulled back 11s on the fi­nal stage to leave the gap at just six sec­onds. “That last stage was awe­some,” said Tysoe of the con­clud­ing nine-miler in Garthein­iog. Ben Friend and Cliffy Sim­mons chased Orr and Tysoe to make it a three-way con­test.

Among the classes, fa­ther and son Bob and Dale Gib­bons went clear in Cat­e­gory 1. “Dale was at his best on the notes,” said the proud dad, while Bob Bean/mal­colm Smith­son (Ford Lo­tus Cortina) took their class. Phil Har­ris/gra­ham Wild (Mini Cooper) got helped out of a fi­nal stage ditch to main­tain their Class B2-win­ning record. In Class C3, El­liot Re­tal­ick/ Tim Tug­well (Hill­man Avenger) took over once Mil­ner’s Es­cort went out and David Hop­kins/tony Vart (Tal­bot Sun­beam) won D2.

No­table re­tire­ments in­cluded Steve Ben­nett/iain Tul­lie with a failed coil, Tim Free­man/paul Wil­liams who up­ended their Es­cort and Neil Wil­liams/peter James with a failed diff on the open­ing stage.

CAR

Ford Fi­esta WRC Ford Fi­esta WRC Subaru Im­preza WRC S10 Skoda Fabia R5 Subaru Im­preza WRC S12 Skoda Fabia S2000 Ford Es­cort Mk2 Ford Es­cort Mk2 Subaru Im­preza WRC S14 Ford Es­cort Mk2

Ja­son Pritchard and Phil Clarke were un­stop­pable

an Opel to third po­si­tion Matt Ed­wards and Will Rogers took

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