Ed­wards feels point is proved af­ter cruel me­chan­i­cal woe ended vic­tory push

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Matt Ed­wards be­lieves that he proved his pace af­ter lead­ing the morn­ing loop of the DMACK Carlisle Stages in his first event in an R5 car, de­spite ul­ti­mately re­tir­ing from the event.

The deal to drive the car in a one-off out­ing came to­gether thanks to long-time backer Peter Smith and Swift Car­a­vans, tyre firm DMACK and M-sport.

Ed­wards was lead­ing the event af­ter three stages at ser­vice in the Ford Fi­esta R5+, but a stick­ing throt­tle forced his re­tire­ment. He was quick­est through the 13-mile SS2 and short Ash Park SS3 de­spite his in­ex­pe­ri­ence in the car.

“I could have quite hap­pily put it on the trailer af­ter three stages, I proved all I’d wanted to,” ex­plained Ed­wards. “I don’t want that to sound ar­ro­gant. That was more than we could have ex­pected [to be lead­ing], there was no ex­pec­ta­tions, no pres­sure, there was no need to do any­thing silly.”

Ed­wards has spent 12 years ral­ly­ing Group N and his­toric cars, but is happy he’s had the chance to prove him­self in top level machin­ery.

“To feel com­fort­able at that pace in that car was some­thing I’d al­ways won­dered if I could do it. I’ve never been in any­thing like that. You al­ways won­der if you could do it. I’ve been ral­ly­ing for 12 years, aim­ing to some­thing like this.”

Ed­wards has im­pressed in the Bri­tish Rally Cham­pi­onship this sea­son. He steered his Group N-spec Mit­subishi Lancer E9 to sev­enth on the Mid Wales Stages at the start of the year beat­ing a host of R5s.

“We all knew [that he had the pace to drive the car],” added Smith. “He built his own Evo by him­self and stuffed the op­po­si­tion in the BRC rounds he’s done.”

Ed­wards will re­turn to his Mit­subishi Lancer E9 in the BRC for the Scot­tish in two weeks, fol­lowed by the Nicky Grist Stages in July.

Ed­wards’ R5 de­but (l) and BRC Lancer with Will Rogers (r)

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