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Former Australian Rally Championship class winner, Ernie Graham, has won the fifth round of the British Rally Championship Rallymasters after a thrilling battle between the Mk1 Ford Escort driver and Shelley Taunt in her Subaru Impreza in the furiously fast forests of Yorkshire.
The win moves Graham, who won the BRC Rallymasters round on the Jim Clark Rally, into third position in the championship standings.
“We had a really good run,” said the 45 year-old. “We had one overshoot which dropped us 20 seconds which meant we had to drive very aggressively to get back in front of Shelly Taunt. Apart from that everything went well and the championship battle is still alive going to the Tempest.”
Swindon resident Shelly Taunt had looked set to take her first BRC Rallymasters win before Graham overhauled her lead.
“We really struggled with grip,” said Taunt. “We tried the hard compound tyre in the morning and couldn’t get it together. We tried a soft one in the afternoon but that wasn’t much better but we still had a good battle with Ernie Graham.”
Championship leader Will Nicholls endured a cruel blow to his BRC Rallymasters campaign as he blew a gearbox oil pump seal oil on his way to the event, meaning his chances of clinching the title with one round to go were gone.
Nicholls and co-driver Nick Broom were three miles away from the Pickering Showground start of the event when they started to lose gearbox oil after a simple O ring – a component costing pence – gave out.
“I’m gutted,” said 46 year-old Nicholls. “It was the high pressure oil pump. One of the nuts came off and the pressure split the O ring. We drove to the event and took the gearbox out. If we’d had a new pump we could have easily fixed it and been in the event, but no-one carries them as they never fail.”
The BRC Rallymasters championship now heads to the mixed surface Tempest National Rally in November for a thrilling season finale.
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