BENTHAM’S David Wright suffered a disappointing retirement on last weekend’s Malcolm Wilson Rally, round two of the BTRDA Rally Championship, when a stone holed the oil filter on his GPM Mitsubishi Evo 9 forcing him out of the event.
Wright and co-driver Michael Wilkinson started the Cockermouth-based rally with fifth fastest time on the opening Comb test, a tough stage that used the gravel tracks in Whinlatter Forest. Despite a time-consuming stall in the third stage in Greystoke Forest Wright maintained his fifth place as the crews headed towards the first service halt.
“We had mixed fortunes on the opening three stages,” said Wright. “I didn’t feel that the Comb stage went too well although we set a fairly competitive time. Stage two in Hobcarton was better but then near the end of Greystoke the engine cut out at a hairpin bend and we lost a few seconds getting the car started.”
The rally moved south for two stages in Grizedale Forest. After his time loss in Greystoke, Wright was keen to move up the leader board in his Proflex, Drenth, Kumho Tyres and Grove Hill Garage-supported car and he stormed through the Grizedale North test an amazing 11 seconds faster than the eventual event winner.
Now only 25 seconds off the lead Wright continued his charge in Grizedale South but it all came to nothing when a stone flew into the engine compartment and holed the oil filter.
“I was delighted with our time on the first Grizedale stage, it put us in a good position to try and push for a win and we were going well in Grizedale South too but sadly the holed oil filter meant our rally was over.
“It’s very disappointing as we were on for a good result but I’m heartened that we set a fastest time so it shows we have the pace to challenge for victories.”
Wright will next be in action on the Somerset Stages in April.
Bolton-le-Sands driver Dave Edwards had a more successful event, finishing fourth in class. Edwards, who is more used to competing on the Tarmac roads of the Mull Rally, had a relatively trouble free event in his Vauxhall Astra and he is planning to do more forestry events later in the year.