Radstock’s Ross Whittock scored another impressive fifth overall in the British Rally Championship at the weekend, co-driving the Ford Fiesta R5 alongside Jamie Anderson on the Nicky Grist Stages Rally.
The event was a two-day affair, using the legendary forests to rally fans in mid-Wales on Saturday and then turning to the famous Eppynt Army ranges, north of Brecon, for Sunday.
Fresh from the Ypres Rally only two weeks prior, all crews were set to do battle again; but the dry conditions in the forests were to dominate the pace due to the high levels of dust, restricting the vision for everyone, except seeded car number one, Osian Pryce, the Championship leader, who benefited from a clear road ahead. Ross and Jamie survived the dust to return for the overnight halt in Builth Wells in fourth position after suffering the loss of fifth gear and poor vision. The mechanics then had just over an hour to change the car’s suspension for the tarmac stages on the Sunday run and the added pressure of changing a gearbox as well.
Sunday was dominated at first by the pace of some of the tarmac specialists, but mistakes started to creep in at the top. At first, the event leader, Osian Pryce, retired, followed by second place, Keith Cronin, who is one of the fastest drivers out of Ireland. Swedish star, Fredrick Ahlen, then took the lead in his CA1 run Skoda R5, who is team mate to Ross and Jamie. After battle over the twelve gruelling tests on the toughest army ranges in the UK – Ahlen was awarded first place, which put him as the new championship leader. Jamie and Ross lifted their position to seventh in the championship and Ross moved himself into fifth for the co-drivers’ category.
Battle resumes again in August, when the circus moves to Londonderry for the Ulster Rally.