Against the odds Bentham rally driver David Wright took the BTRDA Gold Star rally championship title last weekend on the Cambrian rally, despite suffering his first retirement of the year when a slight off damaged the oil cooler.
With title rival Will Nicholls only needing to finish 7th to take the title Wright was resigned to losing out on the crown before the event. However, all that was to change on the opening competitive stage of the event in Clocaenog forest.
Towards the end of the stage Nicholls was caught out on one of the corners and rolled his Subaru Impreza down a bank. The car was recovered by a group of spectators but Nicholls lost a lot of time. A further off in the second stage before finally retiring in stage three meant that the title was Wrights.
“We were running three cars behind Will and it was a shock to see him off the road,” said Wright. “We knew there was a chance that the title could now be ours but we had to keep our mind on the job and continue to push hard.”
The opening stage did not run smoothly for Wright either, a spin costing valuable time and meaning that he was down in 13th position. A good run on stage two saw him set fifth fastest time and move up to tenth overall at the first service halt.
The first of two stages in Penmachno forest saw Wright move up to sixth place, ahead of some of the crews from the World Rally championship who were also contesting the event. This was despite a problem with the exhaust.
Disaster struck on the second Penmachno stage though when Wright had a slight off-road excursion. While the off itself wasn’t serious the engine oil cooler was damaged by a tree stump and all the engine oil was lost, forcing Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson out of the event.
“It was a sad way to end the event, especially as we had a perfect finishing record up till then. We can console ourselves with the championship though - we knew the title was ours once we heard that Will had retired on the third stage.”
“It’s fantastic to win the title at our first attempt. It’s been a steep learning curve, developing the car through the year and experiencing events that I’ve never competed on before.”
“I’d like to thank Giles Philips at GPM for preparing a car which has allowed me to win the title despite being up against several World Rally cars and thanks to Phil Marks for his work on the engine. I’d also like to thank Grove Hill Garage, Kumho Tyres and Proflex for their support.”
Wright is planning to end the season by contesting the Grizedale Stages rally in Cumbria in December and he is hoping to return to defend his BTRDA title in 2010.