David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae crossed the finish line of this weekend’s International Rally Yorkshire in third place and, in doing so, became 2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Champions. The Scottish pair’s six podium finishes – three of them wins – from the season’s six rounds were more than enough to provide them with their first British title.

Elfyn Evans and co-driver Andrew Edwards in the Pirelli Star Driver Subaru led the event from the start and did all they could to try to lever the title away from Bogie and Rae. It was the Welshmen’s second rally-win of the season, the result confirming them as runners-up in the Championship, whilst Jonny Greer and Dai Roberts finished a strong third in the rally and in the Championship.

With the announcement on Thursday that October’s International Rally Isle of Man had been cancelled, this weekend’s Yorkshire event took on a completely different completion, as suddenly it became the final round of the 2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship. It also meant that, because the Manx-based rally was to represent two points-scoring rounds, that competitors had to count all of this season’s scores and could not drop a round.

Therefore, all Bogie had to do was to finish 13th or higher to confirm his place in the history books. However, as anyone who has experience of the sport will know, it’s not that easy!

This year’s Rally Yorkshire kicked off with a ceremonial start on a warm and dry Friday evening at Scarborough’s West Pier, where the BRC cars and crews congregated on the sea front for a promotional gathering that attracted hoards of spectators. All of the event’s competitive action took place on Saturday in the picturesque forests of the North Yorkshire Moors, which featured nine special stages and a total competitive distance of 82 miles.

Stage one was a 14-mile run through the infamous Dalby forest, which caught many competitors unawares, the slippery conditions making grip levels a lottery. Unsure whether it was the indifferent road surface or the rock he hit a few 100 meters before, fast-Finn Jussi Kumpumäki was the first BRC driver to exit the event, when his Fiesta left the road on a tightening right-hander 10km into the stage. Unfortunately, heavy contact with a felled tree meant he was going no further and, although all of his car’s wheels were still pointing in the right direction, the front of the Ford was too badly damaged to continue.

Others also lost time in the conditions: Mikko Pajunen dropped 30-seconds when he planted his Renault Twingo in the bushes; Callum Black reported he was perhaps a little over-cautious and F2 front-runner Martin McCormack even admitted that it was one of the worst first stages he had ever had!

The slippery gravel surface played into the hands of the four-wheel-drive runners and, with nothing to lose, Evans blasted through the stage to lead Greer by 12.9 seconds. The Škoda Fabia S2000 pairing were in-turn 27.4 seconds ahead of Bogie, who had sensibly opted to take it steady - with thoughts of the British title in the forefront of his mind - whilst fastest of the two-wheel-drive cars was the Renault Clio of Peter Taylor in an impressive fourth.

The next three stages – which included two runs through Gale Rigg and one through Cropton forest – provided a surface that was more to the drivers’ liking – especially McCormack, who elevated himself from seventh to fifth by the time crews entered the auxiliary service halt north of Pickering. The first loop of four stages had also provided a close battle between the one-makes, with Desi Henry and Joe McGonigle swapping places in the Citroën Racing Trophy and Kit Leigh, Nick Cristofaro and Osian Pryce in the Fiesta SportTrophy all just a handful of seconds apart.

At the front of the field the leading four was unchanged as they embarked on another two stages: Staindale and Langdale. However, Evans threw nearly half of his 18-second advantage away with a spin on stage five, putting Greer within ten seconds of him before the main service halt of the day back in Scarborough.

Stages five and six turned out to be significant for the Fiesta drivers too, when Cristofaro’s car broke a driveshaft leaving the start line of SS6 and Leigh’s car lost third gear. In contrast, Alex Laffey’s rally was going well in his new Fiesta and he was rapidly getting back his confidence following his crash in Ulster last month.

The last leg of the day comprised a further three stages, all of them a second run of previous venues, starting with Dalby – which was far more grippy the second time around – Staindale and then Langdale. The first of these saw McCormack – who was now in the ‘zone’ - overhaul Taylor, which meant that, once again, the Citroën DS3 driver was ahead of the Formula 2 field.

For Bogie, this last loop of stages was the most important of his rallying career and possibly the hardest, as he knew he had to drive cautiously but, at the same time, maintain a level of concentration that would ensure he made no mistakes. In fact, he was feeling so stressed during the last stage, he even had to open a window as he thought he was going to be sick!

But it was a faultless performance from the young Scot, his co-driver and his Mitsubishi, which meant that he returned to Scarborough to be crowned the 2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Champion. An equally polished performance by Evans saw him record his second BRC victory of the season and claim second place in the Championship, whilst Greer did likewise to finish third and third respectively.

Dulux Trade MSA British Formula 2 Rally Championship

McCormack’s fourth place rewarded him with the British Formula 2, R3 Class and Junior titles, whilst Taylor’s fifth place and excellent pace during the event earned him the Pirelli Star Driver nomination. Mikko Pajunen’s day-long battle with his Autosport Technology Renault Twingo team-mate Siim Plangi was finally resolved in the Pajunen’s favour. It was a great fight back by the Finn following his stage one excursion, his efforts seeing him collect the spoils for the R2 Class.

Dulux Trade MSA British Teams Rally Championship

The performance of the two Renault drivers this season has meant that, even before this weekend’s final round, Autosport Technology were already confirmed as Teams’ Champions. Other Champions crowned at the end of the event were Louise Cook, who becomes British Ladies Champion; Osian Price who scoops the Fiesta SportTrophy and Desi Henry, who does likewise in the Citroën Racing Trophy.

At the finish a delighted David Bogie said: “It’s hard to sum up how I feel. I’ve been chasing this result all year and the dream has now come true. This has been the hardest rally of my life by far. I had to make sure we got to the finish and we did everything possible to achieve this. To win the title is a reward for everyone who has supported me: the team, my family and, of course Kevin, who has done a great job. It’s a huge achievement and I still can’t quite believe it!”

Having scored his second victory of the season, Elfyn Evans said: “We came here to do a job and that’s what we’ve done. David had a great start to the season and we had a bit of bad luck along the way, which has made all the difference for the final event. I must therefore congratulate David and his team on claiming the title. However, scoring a win this weekend is a great way to finish the season. It proves that we have good team, a good car and, of course, good tyres.”

The Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship would like to thank all of the teams, events and sponsors and events for their support during this season and congratulates all of its new Champions. BRC organisers have confirmed that further information about the 2012 season will be issued over the nex t few weeks.

International Rally Yorkshire results

2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship - Roll of Honour

Champion Driver: David Bogie
Champion Co-driver: Kevin Rae
Formula 2 Champion Driver: Martin McCormack
Formula 2 Champion Co-driver: David Moynihan
Teams Champions: Autosport Technology
R3 Champion Driver: Martin McCormack
R3 Champion Co-driver: David Moynihan
R2 Champion Driver: Mikko Pajunen
R2 Champion Co-driver: Jani Salo
Ladies Champion: Louise Cook

*results are provisional

Provisional Championship standings

2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship
1 David Bogie 110
2 Elfyn Evans 100
3 Jonny Greer 95
4 Marty McCormack 74
5 Mikko Pajunen 49
6 Adam Gould 47
7 Siim Plangi 45
8 Tom Clark 40
9 Callum Black 37
10 Mark Donnelly 36

2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Formula 2 Rally Championship
1 Marty McCormack 98
2 Mikko Pajunen 75
3 Siim Plangi 74
4 Osian Pryce 62
5 Callum Black 59

2011 Dulux Trade MSA British Teams Rally Championship
1 Autosport Technology 174
2 M-Sport Ford 104
3 Team C2R2 Max 95
4 586 Sports 69

List of 2011 Pirelli Star Driver nominations:
Rally Yorkshire: Peter Taylor
Todds Leap Rally NI: Tommy Doyle
Jim Clark Rally: Marty McCormack
Pirelli Rally: Jukka Korhonen
Bulldog Rally North Wales: Mark Donnelly
Rallye Sunseeker: Siim Plangi
(4WD gravel & asphalt nominations to be announced)
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