Assured rokland wins Junior british title
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