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Stobart VK Subaru driver Mark Higgins has taken an historic third British Rally Championship title after finishing in second position in International Rally Yorkshire, the fifth round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.
 
Higgins fought back from third position at the lunchtime service to overhaul all bar works Mitsubishi driver Ryan Champion in the one day rally played out over the fearsomely fast Yorkshire forest stages made famous by the RAC Rally.
 
“Everything has gone to plan this year,” said the 35 year-old Welsh-residing Manxman. “It’s been a testament to Stobart Motorsport and the team how well everything’s gone. I adopted a different approach to the year and we’ve never been far away from the fastest stage times all season.
 
“We took today pretty steady in the morning, maybe too steady, and we had a gearbox problem before the service stop. In the afternoon we could push a little harder but we decided on the last stage not to do anything silly and make sure we finished.”
 
Higgins adds the 2006 title to those won in 2005 and 1997 and still has a round left in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship. He finished the rally just ten seconds away from winner Ryan Champion.
 
Julian Reynolds finished in thirteen position in the second Stobart VK Subaru. The Welshman set strong times all day but was hindered by a particularly lengthy tyre change on a stage in the morning.
 
“It’s been a good day and I’m happy with the result,” said Reynolds. “The tyre took an age to change as we had to jack the car up once and then again to get it high enough but after that everything went well. We had a few moments but didn’t hit anything so it’s good to get the car back with a solid result.” 
 
Barry Clark impressed all onlookers in the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team and was in a solid second position in the S1600 class after a rally-long battle with rival James Wozencroft. Unfortunately a gearbox problem late in the day meant he finished in third in class, and 14th overall.
 
“We’d just pulled out a nice gap from James Wozencroft when we started to have problems,” said Clark. “First we lost third, then sixth and then fourth. Before that everything was going to plan. We were quicker than Roman this morning and I was confident we’d stay ahead of Wozie to the finish.”
 
Roman Kresta’s run of bad luck in the British Rally Championship continued with the Czech veteran of 35 World Rally Championship rounds retiring from the rally with a holed oil cooler early in the day.
 
The Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship heads to a thrilling conclusion on Wales Rally GB, Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Stobart Motorsport will next be in action in Rally Turkey this coming weekend with the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team and drivers Matthew Wilson and Kosti Katajamaki.

Photo: www.cmwi.net

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