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FROG Motorsportʼs Ross and Ashley Burton have gained their first podium on their third ever rally in the Experts Cup, round 3 of the WARC and Clubman Series.

Running in the Clubman event, the pair took 3rd outright and first novice driver and co-driver in their BWI Landscaping backed Toyota Corolla KE30.

After completing pace notes for the first time, the pair were looking forward to a good run on the roads around Wellington Dam after their last outing together in the Forest Rally proved that they were on the pace.

However, it would turn into quite an eventful day. On the liaison to the first stage the Corolla developed the same miss that has been plaguing the team since their debut in last years Darling 200, and would see them drop time to the leaders all day. Despite this, the pair set third fastest time on the opening stage, finishing just 5 seconds off current clubman points leader Kevin Sleep.

“Somewhere on the stage we crushed the exhaust which just added to the problem,” Ashley said.

Stage two saw the team start to push a little harder as they gained more confidence in their notes, however, they were distracted by an official standing close to the racing line which resulted in a small off into a water barrier, causing some minor damage and losing about 30 seconds getting the car back on the road.

“We came over a crest into a left hander and had to adjust our line or we would have tagged him with the back end. I lost my line and was in the loose and couldnʼt bring the car up in time,” commented Ross at the first service.

After the service break the crew headed back into the forest for the final three stages. Stage 3 and 4 saw the pair set 3rd fastest, despite almost coming to a complete stop in some sections.

“Coming out of some of the slower corners there was just no power. We had to basically drop the clutch to get going again,” said Ashley.

Stage 5 and the spotlights were on. With a bent bumper from their earlier off some adjustment was necessary prior to the start which resulted in a penalty for booking in late. The pair put this behind them and drove their first night stage, finishing off the rally with a 4th fastest time, claiming 3rd outright and first novice driver and co-driver.

“Our aim was to finish and get some points in the championship, it was an awesome result considering all the dramas we had. Tim, D and David did a great job at the service,” said Ross. “Special thanks to Shane Eather for helping us out before the rally and the lend of the lights and tow vehicle and to John Thorburn for the use of the trailer.”

“It was a great event for us. The difference in speed from running off the road book to using pace notes is amazing,” commented Ashle.

The next outing for the FROG Motorsport team will be the Donnelly River Rally in September, in which they are planning on making their state championship debut.

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