PHOTOS: Higgins wins Jim Clark Rally
- 28th May 2008, 8:20am
The pair had a steady run after 2007 Champion and rival Guy Wilks retired on Saturday when his car caught fire, citing lack of concentration as the most difficult element of the event.
“It was quite hard work even though we had a decent lead,” said Higgins at the finish in Kelso, “I even had a few silly spins when the handbrake wasn’t working just right. But the car and Atlas TEG Sport team have done a great job and it puts us effectively on level points with Guy going to my home event on the Isle of Man.”
Drama unfolded behind them though; his brother’s Team TQ.com Subaru struggling with a differential problem on the final loop of stages; David Higgins and Ieuan Thomas eventually falling into the grasp of the hard charging Stuart Jones and Andy Bull. Higgins third place was, however enough to elevate him to the lead of the British series with two rounds gone.
Jones’ MG Super 2000 was a joy to hear on the fast tarmac stages and his stolen final stage second place puts the crew in an excellent second place in the Championship. He stated that the car “needed driving fast!”, something he proved he was capable of, matching his best result in the BRC, after finishing second on Rally GB in 2006.
A career best fourth was James Wozencroft who had a completely trouble free run, suffering a little with a lack of top speed in his older Subaru. He and Jonny Greer had a good battle towards the end of the event, Greer running out of stages to catch “Woz”, but finishing just 19 seconds down. Wyn Humphreys was a distant sixth after losing time with a broken radiator on Saturday. He managed to stem the flow slightly, even using a spectator’s flask to top up the radiator mid stage.
In the Team’s Championship, Atlas TEG Sport now leads from Team TQ.com, all four nominated drivers scoring points. Mitsubishi Motors UK is now third, Wilks having not scored and Morrow using Super Rally to score. The Revolution Wheels Rally Team had two finishers, although both Karl Simmons and Rob Swann had offs on Sunday afternoon, both at high speed, but Swann’s new Impreza rolled four times.
The classes were hard fought too, Rally 3 front-runner Brian O’Mahony’s Clio not re-starting after engine mount failure caused engine problems. The lead had swung to Fin McCaul, but he lost water, turbo boost and a huge chunk of time, handing the class award and the Diesel Cup to Steve and Tony Graham.
Their striking green Astra Diesel had run faultlessly until transmission problems on the very last stage of the event. The car stuck in first gear, then would not select first, meaning he had to nurse it round the tight hairpins and chicanes. The resulting slipping clutch added to the pairs concerns, but it made the ramp in sunny Kelso with plenty of crossed fingers and toes.
Rally 2 was blitzed by Adam Gould /Seb Marshall whose Clio was another car without problems [AUDIO]. The British Rally Elite member also took the nomination for the Jim Clark Rally Pirelli Star Driver. His excellent stage times put him not only top placed two wheel drive car, but seventh BRC finisher, just 30 seconds behind Humphreys. Alastair Fisher’s challenge faded when he rolled out of contention, while Kris Hall’s similar Fiesta struggled with fuel related problems, but finished third on his first ever International rally and first ever asphalt event.
Second in R2 and leading the Citroën C2R2 Cup was George Thomas and new co-driver Mark Ammonds. They struggled as the event went on with clutch problems, but Thomas was delighted to return to the BRC after missing the Pirelli.
Matt Cotton/Anthony Godden’s trip from Cornwall was worth the effort after their huge shunt on the Pirelli. They took second place, Matt’ biggest battle was with himself, overcoming the memory of the end-over-end accident back in April. Third in the Citroëns were regulars Martin Roberts/Rich Mills, although they had to cope with an intermittent misfire for the whole event, not really getting any rhythm.
The Suzuki Swift Sport Cup made up the whole of the Rally 1 class, seven cars starting the event. Mark Gamble took the honours [AUDIO], albeit with a decidedly second hand looking car. He had some excursions to the scenery on both days, but still managed to hold off the constant pressure from Irishman Ross Forde. The pair had swapped seconds for the whole event, Forde just 12 seconds back after a valiant fight. Third in the one make series was Danish crew Niki Bjerg/Arly Larsen; the Danish Federation driver commenting that it was the best rally he had ever contested.
VIEW OUR EXCLUSIVE JIM CLARK RALLY PHOTOS HERE
BRC provisional top ten Drivers’ points
1 David Higgins 32
2 Stuart Jones 31
3 Jonny Greer 25
4 James Wozencroft 24
5 Wyn Humphreys 23
6 Guy Wilks 20
7 Mark Higgins 20
8 Juho Hanninen 18
9 Patrik Flodin 14
10 Rob Swann 14
BRC provisional top ten Teams’ points
1 Atlas TEG Sport 65
2 Team TQ.com 62
3 Mitsubishi Motors UK 48
4 Revolution Wheels Rally Team 41
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