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Welshman Gwyndaf Evans fought tooth and nail over 122 stage miles to take victory in the fourth round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, the Philip White Tyres Ulster Rally.
 
Evans exchanged times for the top spot with reigning British Rally Champion, Manxman Mark Higgins, throughout the day. However, a puncture for Higgins on the second last stage decided the outcome.
 
“What a day we have had. It has been one of the toughest events I’ve had to tackle, which makes the victory even more satisfying,” said the Hankook Mitsubishi driver, who set six fastest times compared to three for Higgins.
 
Evans also takes top honours in the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, although Yorkshire-man Jonny Milner continues to lead the series, which offers the prize of a full seasons competition with the Mitsubishi works team.
 
Higgins, who finished 56 seconds behind, said: “It was frustrating to get a puncture so late in the day but it was just our turn. We managed to miss the rock on an earlier stage that claimed everyone else – we must have had the wrong line on that one.
 
“Second place puts us in a good points position going into the next round as we only need to finish,” said Higgins, the Stobart VK Subaru Team driver.
 
Rory Galligan was more than a little delighted with his third place after a tough day on the narrow and bumpy stages around Armagh.
 
“I could have cried earlier, the event has been so frustrating for me. We just couldn’t keep up the pace and we had a number of overshoots, one of which resulted in us sitting in a field for a short time.”
 
Ryan Champion had been leading the event overnight crashed out on the first stage of leg two – a victim of the treacherous and wet conditions that greeted the drivers at the start of the leg.
 
MSA British Rally Elite scheme member, Stuart Jones, in the other Hankook Mitsubishi set two fastest stage times and two second fastest – putting him in a strong fourth position in the BRC field.
 
 “We have put our accident from the last round to the back of our minds and everything went perfectly.”
 
James Wozencroft took his first category win of the season in his Suzuki Ignis S1600 moving him to the top position in the class.
 
“I am very pleased. We had been doing some improvements on our pacenotes. I have spent some time with Robert (Reid, the Performance Director of the MSA British Rally Elite scheme) to improve our notes and it has made all the difference.”
 
Barry Clark maintains second place in the S1600 category despite retiring his Stobart VK S1600 Fiesta on stage nine. Like team-mate Roman Kresta, Clark will also collect points under the SupeRally regulations.
 
Citroen Junior World Rally Championship star Kris Meeke, took some time out of his hectic JWRC schedule to compete on his home event in the S1600 C2.
 
Despite not being eligible for BRC points Meeke was running on Tesco 99 Octane fuel (the control fuel for the series). Meeke, who was leading the event on the first leg, dropped to 12th overall after a trip into a field cost him more than five minutes.
 
The next round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, the International Rally Yorkshire takes place on October 7.
 
Drivers points
1.         Mark Higgins                           110
2.         Jonny Milner                             67
3.         Gwyndaf Evans                        57
4.         Ryan Champion                        56
5=        Julian Reynolds                        54
5=        Stuart Jones                              54
 
Teams Championship
1. Dealer Team Suzuki                       115
2. Stobart VK Subaru                          110
3. Stobart VK M-Sport Ford                92.5
4. SJR Hankook Mitsubishi                 83
5. Mitsubishi Motors                             77
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