COLE CONTINUES MSA ASPHALT DOMINANCE SUBSCRIBE ONLINE AT
Alnwick and District, Berwick and District Motor August 8 Otterburn, Northumberland MSA Asphalt Rally Championship; AS Performance North of England Tarmacadam Rally Championship; BTRDA Rally Challenge; Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship; Northern Historic Asphalt Championship; MSA English Championship. Stages: 12 Starters: 81 Clubs
Damian Cole and Paul Morris took a third MSA Asphalt Championship win in as many rounds as the duo overcame Steve Simpson and Patrick Walsh to lead the rally from start to finish.
The eventual margin of victory was 22 seconds, but it could easily have been more, or less, as four of the day’s 12 stages were cleanable, the bogey being beaten by the rapid crews.
Running soft tyres on his Ford Fiesta WRC for the first three stages Cole quickly opened up a gap on the rest of the field, then switched to hard compounds for the next three and opened it up some more. Although he beat the bogey on the Dudlees tests on both runs he still had a 12-second cushion over Laffey’s Ford Fiesta R5 Evo after six stages.
Even on ‘super softs’ Steve Simpson was struggling to stay in touch. He muscled the big Subaru Impreza around the narrow confines of the Otterburn roads to take third place although a ‘soft’ brake pedal was giving him cause for concern.
Laffey’s CA1 Sport team-mate Tom Preston was fourth at the half way point, and grinning: “I spun on the first one – I was just too quick into a corner, then I did it again on the fourth test.” This time he had a better excuse as the flatshift was giving him a bit of trouble in his Skoda Fabia R5.
First time out with Ian Windress on the notes, David Tinn was holding fifth place in the Proton while Stephen Petch rounded off the top half dozen in his Fiesta R5+. Not so lucky was Michael Glendinning, the Subaru trailing ominous blue smoke as he headed for home after three stages.
There was no let up on pace and pressure on the afternoon runs, but quite a few of the frontrunners cleaned two more stages and no-one could challenge Cole. Simpson tried, and although he caught and passed Laffey, that was as far as he would get and that was the only change in the top six.
Things might have changed had the rain arrived earlier, but only the last stage was affected for the frontrunners.
Richard Clews was on course for seventh place. “I’ve been seventh on the past three events,” he said, but Rory Young spoiled his record just catching and passing him on the last two stages despite a slight misfire. “It did it once last year,” said Young, “and we fixed it - but I can’t remember what we did!”
Bob Grant finished ninth and Richard Slinger rounded off the top 10 despite a puncture on the first stage and a slight off on the eighth.
Both John Marshall and Gary Adam failed to finish, Marshall’s Subaru suffering complete electrical failure and Adam’s Escort losing power till the fault was traced to a broken alternator wire.
William Hill scored the 1600 class win in his Fiesta R200 from the Corsa of Neil Thompson. But Sean Robson was forced out when the alternator failed in his Citroen C2 and Gareth White retired his Peugeot 208 with a suspected dropped valve.
Andrew Egger was top 1400 runner in his Nova from the Corsa of Richard Milbank.
Derek Tohill made his first home Irish rallycross appearance since March and his Ford Fiesta duly ran away with both the Supercar Final and the Super Final.
Tohill was 19s clear of the older version of Thomas O’rafferty in the Supercar race and increased this to 21s in the final race of the day, with O’rafferty dropping to third right on the finish line when Noel Greene’s Mitsubishi Mirage just got the drop on him out of the last corner.
Defending National champion Willie Coyne’s Opel Corsa easily beat the BMW of Pearse Browne and Patrick Ryan’s Nova in the Modified A race, with Coyne going on to take fourth position and first two-wheel-drive car home in the main race.
John Ward’s Peugeot 106 led paul nolan home in the 16-valve Stock Hatch race, with the 205 of Ciaran Murphy holding off Damian Farrell in the eight-valve version. Patrick Donoghue dominated the Rally Car Final, with Morgan Quinn repeating his March win in the Junior Final, and Dan Mcdonnell doing the same among the Fiestas.
A runaway win for paul blair kept alive his hopes of retaining the NI Autotest title, with points leader paul mooney a distant second, and two rounds remaining.
When: August 7
1 Derek Tohill (Ford Fiesta Mk 7) 5m15.907s; 2 Noel Greene (Mitsubishi Mirage) +21.512s; 3 Thomas O’rafferty (Ford Fiesta); 4 Willie Coyne (Opel Corsa); 5 Patrick Ryan (Vauxhall Nova); 6 Chris Grimes (Vauxhall Nova). Supercar A Final: 1 Tohill 4m08.510s; 2 O’rafferty +19.380s; 3 Greene. Modified A Final: 1 Coyne 4m 31.677s; 2 Pearse Browne (BMW Compact) +5.297s; 3 Ryan Final: 1 John Ward (Peugeot 106) 4m44.727s; 2 Paul Nolan (Peugeot 106) +3.252s; 3 Leigh Anne Sedgwick (Citroen Saxo). Stock Hatch 8 valve A Final: 1 Ciaran Murphy (Peugeot 205) 4m 56.142s; 2 Damian Farrell (Peugeot 205) +2.497s; 3 Adrian Farrell (Peugeot 205). 1 Patrick Donoghue (Peugeot 205) 4m41.528s; 2 Peter O’brien (Peugeot 205) +23.311s; 3 William Cecil (Peugeot 205). Junior A Final: 1 Morgan Quinn (Nissan Micra) 5m 17.404s; 2 Shane Duggan (Nissan Micra) +0.337; 3 Ben Mullins (Nissan Micra). Fiesta A Final: 1 Dan Mcdonnell 5m 00.406s; 2 Keith Kerrshaawe +2.841s; 3 Ronan Mcdonnell.
Timmy Hansen Andreas Bakkerud Johan Kristoffersson Toomas Heikkinen Petter Solberg Anton Marklund