As­sured rok­land wins Ju­nior british ti­tle

Motor Sport News - - Wales Rally GB -

Four driv­ers en­tered Wales Rally GB with a chance to win the Pre­stone Mo­tor­sport News Ju­nior British Rally Cham­pi­onship, and for a third year in a row it went to a non-brit as Steve Rok­land flew the flag for Nor­way with a bril­liant per­for­mance.

Un­for­tu­nately two con­tenders were lost al­most im­me­di­ately. Wil­liam Creighton was out af­ter three stages on Fri­day with en­gine fail­ure in his Peu­geot 208 R2, and Skoda Fabia R2 driver Kevin Hor­gan also missed most of the day af­ter dam­age from the Tir Prince stage on Thurs­day evening.

That left a two-way fight be­tween Rok­land’s 208 and James Wil­liams, the Welsh­man driv­ing the only Vaux­hall Adam R2 fea­tur­ing on this year’s event.

Rok­land took a 19-point lead into the fi­nal two rounds – with 50 points on of­fer – af­ter win­ning on the Pirelli In­ter­na­tional Rally and the Ul­ster Rally this year. The only blot on the copy book was an off in Ypres which Wil­liams duly cap­i­talised on.

With that in mind, Rok­land con­firmed that the first leg was all about se­cur­ing a fin­ish, keep­ing the car in the mid­dle of the road in a bid to avoid punc­tures and bring the re­sult home.

How­ever, he had been lead­ing on the first full day of ac­tion be­fore a punc­ture set him back. That al­lowed Wil­liams through into the lead to take the 25-points on of­fer for the leg, but Rok­land set­tled for a close sec­ond. The next leg would be key.

And Rok­land rose to the chal­lenge. From Satur­day morn­ing he was fastest on all but two stages over the next two days to se­cure the RC4 class over­all, the BRC leg win and JBRC ti­tle.

“It’s my first in­ter­na­tional cham­pi­onship ti­tle, of course I’m very happy,” he said, eye­ing an .

A punc­ture and an oil leak for Wil­liams cost him dear on Satur­day af­ter­noon, the only con­so­la­tion in the car be­ing Tom Wood­burn – who had co-driven for Rok­land for most of the sea­son – steered Wil­liams to sec­ond and took the JBRC co-driv­ers cham­pi­onship for him­self.

A pair of sec­onds over the two legs of the event gifted Jor­dan Reynolds the Cadet Class ti­tle, pop­u­lated by the older Ford Fi­esta R2s with a 1600cc en­gine.

John­nie Mul­hol­land hadn’t won in the Cadet Class all sea­son, but claimed vic­tory in leg two by over six min­utes as Reynolds and leg one win­ner Fin­lay Ret­son suf­fered punc­tures. It meant Mul­hol­land ended the sea­son just three points adrift of Welsh­man Reynolds in the stand­ings.

Ret­son was ar­guably the most im­pres­sive driver of the week­end, tak­ing two fastest times in the Ju­nior BRC for quicker and more up-to-date R2 cars, a real feat given he is driv­ing on or­gan­iser’s notes and not yet mak­ing his own.

John Mor­ri­son was the only Na­tional Rally Cup en­trant and won in his Mit­subishi Lancer E9, while Spencer Wilkin­son was also alone at the fin­ish in his Pro­duc­tion Cup Subaru Im­preza.

Peu­geot 208 was fault­less for Rok­land

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