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2004 Mitsubishi Evo Challenge

Posted: January 6, 2005 11:55 AM - 9210 Hits

  • Galligan Wins Final Round and becomes Evolution Challenge Champion
  • Final Championship Points
  • Mitsubishi to Enter British Rally Championship
  • Mitsubishi Confirms Continuation of Top Prize for 2005 Evo Challenge
  • 2005 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - Provisional Calendar
  • Championship Positions
Galligan Wins Final Round and becomes Evolution Challenge Champion
Rory Galligan and his co-driver Jonty Bolsover were crowned 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Champions this weekend when they won the eighth and final round of the series on the Bulldog Rally.

Posted: January 6, 2005 11:55 AM

Their Evolution Challenge victory on this event sees them rewarded with the most coveted award in British Rallying: A fully supported works drive in a Group N Lancer Evolution VIII MR in the 2005 British Rally Championship, presented by Mitsubishi Motors UK.

Saturday’s event started from Newtown and finished in Shrewsbury, covering 75 competitive miles in some of the most famous rallying forests in Mid and North Wales. Adding to the demands on the crews were the conditions, with almost two full days of rain before the event and with continued downpours during the day, the gravel road surfaces had become slippery and unpredictable.

With the closest ever finish in all four seasons of the Evolution Challenge, the rally was to provide a head-to-head showdown between Galligan and his year-long rival, Paul Wedgbury, the two of them being the only drivers that could take the title this weekend. They went to the event neck-and-neck, a scenario which meant whoever was first across the line would become Champion.

With it all to play for, the pair of them entered the first of the event’s nine timed special stages committed to the task ahead, but just two miles into Hafren Forest Wedgbury detected a rear puncture. Although he battled on as best he could for the remaining six miles, he dropped 19 seconds to Galligan, making his quest for the title now even tougher.

After two stages and at the first service halt of the day, Galligan reported that his car’s braking had been erratic, causing a number of worrying moments. But luck was with him, as what was found to be a broken brake pipe finally expired as he stopped at the stage finish. However, the Irishman had again gone quicker than Wedgbury and was now 27 seconds ahead.

Such was the pace of the leading Evo Challenge pair they were now holding positions well inside the top ten overall and were pulling away from the other 14 Mitsubishi contenders: Philip Morrow, Nik Elsmore, Neil McCance and Gavin Cox, making up the top six positions.

With so much at stake Wedgbury went on a mission to catch Galligan and in the next leg of four stages did all he could to retrieve his deficit. But Galligan responded with a fine display of committed driving and at the second service halt in Dolgellau found had increased his advantage to 37 seconds.

Sensing something was wrong with his car’s handling, Wedgbury and his team discovered a bent rear suspension arm and replaced it for the final leg of three stages, albeit now hoping that Galligan would slip up.

But the leader never dropped his guard for a moment and eventually crossed the line 29 seconds ahead of Wedgbury to claim his fourth Evolution Challenge win of the season and become the 2004 Evolution Challenge Champion:

“I couldn’t have wished for a better day. The car has handled and performed superbly which gave me the confidence to drive so quickly”, said a smiling Galligan at the finish. “I feel sorry for Paul having a puncture so early in the event, it would have been good to battle to the end, but luck has been with us today and I’m absolutely delighted to have won the works drive. I look forward to doing my best for Mitsubishi in 2005.”

Although he fought right up to the finish, Wedgbury had to settle for second place in the rally and second in the final Evolution Challenge standings. Although not the result he wanted, his performance marked a tremendous achievement for him, his co-driver Neil Dashfield and his team, which comprises willing volunteers who build and prepare the car in their spare time.

“I put everything into this year and I’m gutted not to win, but that’s just the way it is”, said Wedgbury resignedly. “You need a certain amount of luck in this sport and today it wasn’t with me. Rory drove an excellent rally and I wish him all the best for next year. I just hope I can muster enough resources to come back to the Evo Challenge in 2005 - I have some unfinished business to attend to.”

General Manager for Ralliart, Paul Brigden commented:
“I congratulate both Rory and Paul for making this the most exciting finish yet for the Evolution Challenge. Their performances have added to the profile of the series and, together with the continuation of the prize of works drive for next year’s winner, has increased the appeal of the Evolution Challenge. We now look forward to working with Rory in 2005.”

Following his best performance of the season, Morrow held on to take third place and was first of the Junior drivers home. But after a calculated drive, it was Ed Stallard who took the PIAA Junior Award title, a great end to the year for the up and coming 20 year old.

Elsmore ended his season in a bizarre way when a dog jumped out in front of his car in a road section between stages six and seven, the evasive action causing the car to strike a bank and terminally damage its suspension. Although Elsmore was disappointed, the dog was unharmed and he had still done enough to claim third place in the end of year standings.

Next year’s Evolution Challenge will once again follow all seven rounds of the National Rally Championship, plus the addition of one British Championship round, the Jim Clark Memorial Rally. Organisers report that enquiries are already coming in and predict another well subscribed entry in 2005.

The 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Walon UK, Pirelli Tyres, Shell Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, PIAA UK and Mintex.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Round Eight - Results


1st  Rory Galligan (Oldcastle)/Jonty Bolsover (Chesterfield) - 1hr 20 mins 11.0 secs
2nd Paul Wedgbury (Bridgnorth)/Neil Dashfield (Burnham-on-Sea) - 1hr 20 mins 40.2 secs
3rd  Philip Morrow (Lisburn)/Simon Morrow (Lisburn) - 1hr 21 mins 49.9 secs
4th  Gavin Cox (Hope Valley)/Tim Hobbs (Randlay) - 1hr 23 mins 51.1 secs
5th  Neil McCance (Comber)/Graham Hopewell (Worcester) - 1hr 24 mins 11.3 secs
6th  Brendan Kelly (Letterkenny)/Derek Brannigan - 1hr 24 mins 23.0 secs
7th  Tony Thompson (Darlington)/Ian Windress (Northallerton) - 1hr 24 mins 40.9 secs
8th  Martin Newcombe (Plymouth)/Peter Newcombe (Plymouth - 1hr 28 mins 58.5 secs
9th  Ed Stallard (Cheltenham)/John Youd (Wrexham) - 1hr 29 mins 11.6 secs
10th Damon Harvey (Plymouth)/Aled Davies (Llanelli) - 1hr 29 mins 15.5 secs
11th Steve Blunt (Woking)/Bob Duck (Derby) - 1hr 29 mins 59.3 secs
12th Simon Close (Stamford)/Jason Hunt (Wellingore) - 1hr 31 mins 41.3 secs
13th Mandy Bowman (Swansea) Ken Bowman (Hexham) - 1hr 32 mins 29.5 secs
14th Paul James (Taunton)/Derek Davies (Swansea) - 1hr 32 mins 47.8 secs

Retirements

SS5  Darren Snape (Stoke-on-Trent)/Anthony Adams (Stoke-on-Trent) - Water ingress  
SS6-7 Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Cliff Simmons (Coleford) - Accident

Final Series Positions

Drivers
1st Rory Galligan - 65 Points
2nd  Paul Wedgbury - 64 Points
3rd  Nik Elsmore - 50 Points
4th  Martin Sansom - 47 Points
5th  Roy White - 30 Points
6th  Philip Morrow - 28 Points
7th  Ed Stallard - 28 Points
8th  Richard Hill - 26 Points
9th  Tony Thompson - 24 Points
10th  Anthony Willmington - 21 Points

Co-drivers
1st  Jonty Bolsover - 65 Points
2nd Neil Dashfield - 64 Points
3rd  Ieuan Thomas - 47 Points
4th  John Youd - 31 Points
5th Greg Shinnors - 30 Points
6th  Ian Windress - 29 Points
7th  Simon Morrow - 28 Points
8th  Cliff Simmons - 27 Points
9th  Daniel Stone - 26 Points
10th  Andy White - 21 Points

PIAA Junior Award Drivers
1st Ed Stallard  - 26 Points
2nd  Philip Morrow - 23 Points
3rd  Mike Curran - 14 Points
4th  John Moffatt - 6 Points
5th  Joe Price - 3 Points

28/09/04
Galligan's Win Takes Evo Challenge to the Wire
Mitsubishi Motors UK is pleased to announce it will enter a works Group N Evolution VIII MR in the 2005 British Rally Championship, driven by the winner of the 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge. Following a season in the National Rally Championship, MMUK¹s General Manager for Ralliart, Paul Brigden, sees the move to the British series as a positive step for the company¹s motorsport programme:

³With Brendan Crealey securing the National Production Cup for Mitsubishi, we have achieved our goal for 2004 and we now set our sights on the British Championship Production title. We also hope that this move to the BRC will reflect on the number and quality of competitors registering for the Evolution Challenge.²

British Rally Championship Manager, Mark Taylor, is delighted Mitsubishi has chosen to enter the BRC in 2005:
³It is fantastic news for the British Rally Championship that Mitsubishi UK has decided to enter next year. This will be a great boost to the Championship, especially the Production Category and we hope it will encourage more manufacturers and professional teams to follow suit. 2005 is shaping up to be an exciting season.²

With one round of the 2004 Evolution Challenge remaining, the Bulldog Rally on 23rd October, the series is yet to be decided, with both Paul Wedgbury and Rory Galligan having an equal chance of becoming the 2004 Champion and 2005 Mitsubishi works driver.

Mitsubishi Confirms Continuation of Top Prize for 2005 Evo Challenge
Mitsubishi Motors UK is pleased to confirm its continued support for the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge by awarding the 2005 Champion a fully supported season in 2006, driving a Production specification Lancer Evolution in a UK based Championship.

The prize, which has been described as the ?best in British Rallying¹, will be the third year in succession Mitsubishi has awarded a works drive for winning the one make series for Homologated Group N Evolutions.

This announcement confirms Mitsubishi¹s commitment to UK motorsport and its support for the Evolution Challenge, which has now become the most popular manufacturer backed rally series in the UK.

2005 heralds the fifth year of the series, which will again retain its successful format by following all seven rounds of the National Rally Championship, plus one visit to the British Championship with the Jim Clark Memorial Rally.

General Manager for Ralliart, Paul Brigden, commented:
³We have been impressed with the growth of the Evolution Challenge over the past two years and therefore see Mitsubishi¹s continued support and the prize of the works drive in 2006 will enable the series retain its popularity and high profile.²

Evolution Challenge Coordinator, Simon Slade, said:
This is great news! I am delighted Mitsubishi has confirmed its backing for 2005 and hope that the continuation of this excellent first prize will again see the series attract a large number of high quality entries.²

Regulations and entry forms for the 2005 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge will be available following the final round of the 2004 series, the Bulldog Rally on 23rd October.

2005 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - Provisional Calendar

Rallye Sunseeker - 25th & 26th February
Border Counties Rally - 19th March
Manx Rally - 6th & 7th May
Mutiny Rally - 4th June
Jim Clark Memorial Rally - 1st & 2nd July
Swansea Bay Rally - 23rd July
Park Systems Rally - 10th September
Bulldog Rally - 22nd October

13/09/04
Galligan's Win Takes Evo Challenge to the Wire
By winning the seventh round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, Saturday¹s (11th September) Newton Stewart based Park Systems Furniture Stages Rally, Rory Galligan and co-driver Jonty Bolsover have electrified the race for this year¹s title, the eighth and final round now a head-to-head shoot-out between them and the second placed crew on this event, Paul Wedgbury and Neil Dashfield

The result from this penultimate round of the one-make series for Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions means that whoever beats who, out of Galligan and Wedgbury, on the final round, becomes 2004 Evolution Challenge Champion.

Before the event the first four drivers in the series: Paul Wedgbury, Rory Galligan, Martin Sansom and Nik Elsmore, were each within a mathematical chance of the title and, with the first prize of a works drive in 2005 up for grabs, all were fired-up to give it their best shot.

Just two miles into the first of the event's seven special stages in the Dumfries and Galloway forests, series leader Wedgbury hit trouble, losing third gear completely and had to adjust his driving to overcome the gap between second and fourth. Although having a three point lead before this event, Wedgbury saw his advantage slipping away as Galligan took to the front, albeit the Irishman not happy with his car¹s handling.

As crew's entered the first service halt of the day following SS2 it was Sansom who held second place, with Philip Morrow third and Wedgbury fourth. Following a puncture and a subsequent wheel change in the middle of the second stage Elsmore knew it would take a miracle to put his title hopes back on track and conceded to ensure he made it to the finish just in case others succumbed to similar fates.

Although not in the running for the title Philip Morrow was determined to show he could mix it with the Challenge front runners and a broken power steering pulley and consequently no drive for his car's water pump on SS2 did not stop him from climbing to second place after SS3.

Next title aspirant to hit problems was the luckless Martin Sansom, having clipped a rock his Evo's rear suspension expired half way through SS4, his series hopes collapsing in the process.

Wedgbury was now getting used to his car's missing gear and overhauled Morrow on SS4 to snatch second, albeit briefly. Morrow turned the tables once again on SS5, with Wedgbury reporting his car's engine was feeling ill and Morrow reporting that his co-driving brother was similarly suffering.

As the Evos headed back to the forests for the final two tests following the day's second service halt, Galligan had pulled-out nearly a minute¹s lead from Morrow, with Wedgbury a further 17 seconds back holding onto third place in his four-speed Mitsubishi. Tony Thompson was enjoying his run in fourth place, with Brendan Kelly and Neil McCance also pleased with their performances in fifth and sixth.

Needing to maintain his first place in order to put him on equal terms with Wedgbury before the final round, Galligan was mortified when he collected a puncture on SS6 and then another on SS7. But with Morrow also suffering a deflated tyre and a number of "interesting" moments, plus Wedgbury's engine and transmission becoming decidedly more second-hand as the day went on, Galligan retained his lead and crossed the finish line to win his third Evolution Challenge round of the season.

"I thought we had lost it when we picked up two punctures", said Galligan. "But this is the result we were after and it now means that it's neck and neck and all down to the last round which is going to make for a very exciting battle. I'm looking forward to it!"

Wedgbury's superb drive against the odds netted him second place, his performance seeing him awarded the Shell "Spirit of the Event" award, which comprises 100 litres of Shell Racing Fuel.

After a troubled day Morrow was satisfied to scoop third place and collect the PIAA Junior award for the highest placed under 25 year old driver.

Thompson ended his day prematurely after suffering four punctures, three in his tyres and one in his oil cooler!

But the dramas didn't stop when the rallying ended: Although Kelly and McCance had posted times good enough to see them in fourth and fifth places respectively, confusion with a marshal meant that they did not book in to the final main time control and they were subsequently scratched from the results.

This elevated Ed Stallard into fourth place, the series leading junior driver surprised to take his highest finish of the season and to collect the Walon best prepared car award in the process.

So, with two dropped scores to be taken into account, Wedgbury (9 points) and Galligan (7 points) go to the final round of the series, the Shrewsbury based Bulldog Rally on 23rd October, with an equal opportunity of lifting the title, both of them proclaiming: "It's no holds barred!"

The 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Walon UK, Pirelli Tyres, Shell Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, PIAA UK and Mintex.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Round Seven - Results

1st  Rory Galligan (Oldcastle)/Jonty Bolsover (Chesterfield) - 1hr 07 mins 58.8 secs
2nd Paul Wedgbury (Bridgnorth)/Neil Dashfield (Burnham-on-Sea) - 1hr 08 mins 47.2 secs
3rd  Philip Morrow (Lisburn)/Simon Morrow (Lisburn) - 1hr 08 50.6 secs
4th  Ed Stallard (Cheltenham)/John Youd (Wrexham) - 1hr 12 mins 05.9 secs
5th  Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Ian Allsop (Stourbridge) - 1hr 15 mins 46.1 secs
6th  Noel Kelly (Isle of Man)/James Kelly (Isle of Man) - 1hr 16 mins 07.1 secs

Retirements

SS2  Andrew Grant (Maldon)/Vicky Johnson (Denby) - Transmission
SS4  Martin Sansom (Bexley Heath)/ Ieuan Thomas (Ammanford) - Suspension
SS6  Tony Thompson (Darlington)/Ian Windress (Northallerton) - Oil Cooler
SS8  Brendan Kelly (Letterkenny)/Derek Bronnigan - Did not visit MTC8
SS8  Neil McCance (Comber)/Brian Crawford (Bromsgrove) - Did not visit MTC8

Series Positions

Drivers

1st  Paul Wedgbury - 63 Points
2nd Rory Galligan - 61 Points
3rd  Nik Elsmore - 49 Points
4th  Martin Sansom - 47 Points
5th  Roy White - 30 Points
6th  Richard Hill - 26 Points
7th  Ed Stallard - 25 Points
8th  Anthony Willmington - 21 Points
9th  Tony Thompson - 19 Points
10th  Philip Morrow - 19 Points

Co-drivers

1st Neil Dashfield - 63 Points
2nd  Jonty Bolsover - 61 Points
3rd  Ieuan Thomas - 47 Points
4th Greg Shinnors - 30 Points
5th  Daniel Stone - 26 Points
6th  Cliff Simmons - 26 Points
7th  John Youd - 26 Points
8th  Ian Windress - 22 Points
9th  Andy White - 21 Points
10th  Simon Morrow - 19 Points

PIAA Junior Driver Award

1st Ed Stallard  - 22 Points
2nd  Philip Morrow - 18 Points
3rd  Mike Curran - 14 Points
4th  John Moffatt - 6 Points
5th  Joe Price - 3 Points

19/07/04
Swansea Bay Rally
Elsmore Wins Evo Epic Nik Elsmore and his co-driver Cliff Simmons crossed the finish line of Saturday's Swansea Bay Rally surprised winners of round six of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, having been oblivious to their rise from third to first in the last of the event's seven special stages.
After trying so hard all year, Elsmore was overwhelmed to take his maiden victory in the highly competitive series for Group N (the category for standard specification cars) Mitsubishi Evolutions, this result making him the forth driver to record a win this season

With the Evo Challenge lead changing four times and nearly all 19 contenders entered experiencing dramas of some kind during the course of the 73 miles of competition in the forests surrounding the Neath Valley, the rally was possibly the most exciting ever in the three year history of the series.

Right from the word go the surprises started, with second in the standings, Rory Galligan, finding his car's turbocharger disfunctional as he made his way to the very first stage, a 15 mile dash through Resolven Forest. With little choice but to continue, a frustrated Galligan drove through the stage and to the first of the day's service halts where the offending item was replaced.

Having dropped an agonising four minutes to the initial leader, Martin Sansom, Galligan thought his day was a good as over - but decided to do his utmost to make up for lost time.

First of the Evos to retire was Neil McCance, the Ulsterman putting his car off the road and onto its roof in the wet and slippery conditions on the very first stage. Roy White was another to leave the road on the opening test, inserting his Evo into a ditch and having to be extracted by a bunch of willing spectators.

Series leader Paul Wedgbury was also frustrated on early on when his car developed a misfire in the rain, but his pace was good enough to put him in second place just ahead of Elsmore. Once the misfire had disappeared Wedgbury went in pursuit of Sansom and came within two seconds of passing, only to be delayed by a puncture on SS5 and, with over a minute lost, dropped back to fourth.

In the mean time, leading junior category driver Philip Morrow was getting quicker and quicker and overtook Elsmore to claim second place as cars returned to the service area after five special stages.

In contrast, the Evolution Challenge field had now lost Mick Harris, who reported to be off the road on SS3. Simon Close punctured his car's oil cooler during an un-planned excursion, whilst Brendan Kelly dropped out of contention after stopping to change a puncture, also on SS3.

Not having his best ever day's rallying was Roy White. His event and subsequently his title aspirations came to an end on SS6 with a leaking head gasket. On the same stage Gavin Cox, who was making his 2004 series debut, lost his chance of a top placing when his brand new Evo VIII's gearbox developed a problem.

With conditions now drying out speeds were on the increase and putting aside all the dramas that were going on behind him, Sansom just kept driving as hard as he could to stay in the lead. Nearly a minute clear of a battling Morrow and Elsmore, he started the seventh and final stage and what happened next was to shape the final results:

Halfway through the 15 mile repeat run of Resolven a stone cut through one of Sansom's brake pipes and for the remainder of the stage he had to use the handbrake to slow the car down. With Sansom losing well over a minute, Morrow was now in the lead - although he didn't know it,. Then just two miles from the finish the Morrow clipped a tree stump and next thing he saw was a front wheel flying past the car.

In contrast Elsmore posted a good clean run through the final test and on reaching the finish in Swansea was stunned to find out he had recorded his first ever Evolution Challenge victory.

"I can't believe it!" said an emotional Elsmore. "We have worked so hard all year to be in this position. The win could not have come at a better time for the team. I would say that this is the most significant victory of my career so far, especially as it has been against some of the best drivers in the country. I'm chuffed to bits!".

Following the delay caused by his earlier puncture, Wedgbury was almost as surprised as Elsmore to find he had finished second, a result which sees him retain his series lead. Although bitterly disappointed not to take his first Evo Challenge victory of the season Sansom was relived to finish third and keep his title hopes alive.

Following an amazing drive it was Galligan who finished in fourth place. After changing the turbo, the Irishman set fastest Group N time on all remaining six stages and posted the third overall fastest time on SS5 in the process.

After a sound performance all day, Ed Stallard collected the PIAA Junior Award for the third time in succession, a result which gives him the lead in the category for under 25 year old drivers.

With his co-driving brother climbing into the boot of the car to lift the front end, Morrow managed to extract his three-wheeled Mitsubishi from the final stage, replace the wheel and make it back to Swansea to finish second of the juniors and be awarded the Shell Spirit of the Challenge award for his efforts.

The series now takes an eight week break before round seven, the Newton Stewart based Park Systems Stages on 11th September and with 11 points for a win and only 11 points separating the top four drivers, the race for the title is still far from over.

The 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Walon UK, Pirelli Tyres, Shell Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, PIAA UK and Mintex.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Round Six - Results

1st  Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Cliff Simmons (Coleford) - 1hr 13 mins 43.5 secs
2nd Paul Wedgbury (Bridgnorth)/Neil Dashfield (Burnham-on-Sea) - 1hr 14 mins 11.6 secs
3rd  Martin Sansom (Bexley Heath)/ Ieuan Thomas (Ammanford) - 1hr 14 mins 16.4 secs
4th  Rory Galligan (Oldcastle)/Jonty Bolsover (Chesterfield) - 1hr 15 mins 08.9 secs
5th  Tony Thompson (Darlington)/Ian Windress (Northallerton) - 1hr 16 mins 54.2 secs
6th  Ed Stallard (Cheltenham)/John Youd (Wrexham) - 1hr 17 mins 38.4 secs
7th  Darren Snape (Stoke-on-Trent)/Anthony Adams (Stoke-on-Trent) - 1hr 17 mins 40.9 secs
8th  Martin Newcombe (Plymouth/Peter Newcombe (Plymouth) - 1hr 19 mins 45.8 secs
9th  Andrew Grant (Maldon)/Vicky Johnson (Denby) - 1hr 20 mins 03.1 secs
10th  Paul James (Taunton)/ Derek Davies (Swansea) - 1hr 20 mins 28.9 secs
11th  Mandy Bowman (Swansea)/Ken Bowman (Hexham) - 1hr 22 mins 41.7 secs
12th  Brendan Kelly (Letterkenny)/Derek Bronnigan - 1hr 23 mins 22.7 secs
13th  Philip Morrow (Lisburn)/Simon Morrow (Lisburn) - 1hr 29 19.5 secs

Retirements
SS1  Neil McCance (Comber)/Andy Bull (Bromsgrove) - Accident
SS3  Mick Harris (Hampton Hill)/Llinos Jones-Edwards - Accident
SS5  Simon Close (Stamford)/Jason Hunt (Wellingore) - Oil Cooler
SS6  Roy White (Tipperary)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) - Engine
SS6  Gavin Cox (Hope Valley/Tim Hobbs (Randlay) - Gearbox
SS7  Mike Altendorf (Warlingham)/Richard Wardle (Pickering) - Retired

Series Positions

Drivers
1st  Paul Wedgbury - 53 Points
2nd Rory Galligan - 50 Points
3rd  Martin Sansom - 46 Points
4th  Nik Elsmore - 42 Points
5th  Roy White - 30 Points
6th  Richard Hill - 26 Points
7th  Anthony Willmington - 21 Points
8th  Tony Thompson - 18 Points
9th  Ed Stallard - 16 Points
10th  Mike Curran - 14 Points

Co-drivers
1st Neil Dashfield - 53 Points
2nd  Jonty Bolsover - 50 Points
3rd  Ieuan Thomas - 46 Points
4th Greg Shinnors - 30 Points
5th  Daniel Stone - 26 Points
6th  Cliff Simmons - 26 Points
7th  Andy White - 21 Points
8th  Ian Windress - 21 Points
9th  John Youd - 18 Points
8th  Dessie Wilson - 14 Points

PIAA Junior Driver Award Positions

1st Ed Stallard  - 18 Points
2nd  Mike Curran - 14 Points
3rd  Philip Morrow - 13 Points
4th  John Moffatt - 6 Points
5th  Joe Price - 3 Points

07/07/04
Mitsubishi Evo Challenge - Round Five Report
Wedgbury Drives Ahead
Paul Wedgbury and his co-driver Neil Dashfield scored a convincing victory in round five of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, which took place on Friday and Saturday (2nd & 3rd July) in Berwickshire.

Wedgbury & Dashfield ended the 155 competitive mile route 50 seconds ahead of Rory Galligan & Jonty Bolsover and, with both crews on equal points before the event, the battle for position was destined to be fierce.

The event comprised 23 special stages over closed public roads around Duns and Kelso. It represents the second of two asphalt based rallies in the Evolution Challenge calendar and is the only occasion where the series for Group N Lancer Evolutions joins the Pirelli British Rally Championship.

11 Evo Challenge crews entered the 77 car field of the International event which was to prove to be the most demanding rally of the year so far on drivers, co-drivers and their cars - only six crews making it to the finish.

Weather conditions were to prove a major factor in stage times, with intermittent bursts of rain making tyre choice and commitment into corners a serious consideration.

The event began in Kelso town square on Friday afternoon, the first of the day's seven stages seeing White confirm his asphalt ability ahead of Mark I'Anson, Wedgbury, Sansom and James Edwards - Galligan seventh and admitting he was getting used to driving a Mitsubishi on tarmac for the very first time.

As the evening progressed, the rain punctuated proceedings and White began to come under pressure from Wedgbury who had opted for intermediate tyres and was one of the only drivers happy with his choice of rubber.

Galligan was now becoming acclimatised to his environment, whilst I'Anson dropped back having lost 3rd and 4th gears. Sansom also had problems and lost over a minute with a broken rear driveshaft on the last of the day's stages.

As competitors returned to Kelso for the overnight halt, the Evo Challenge leaderboard showed Wedgbury in front, just 3 seconds ahead of White, who was in turn nine seconds ahead of Galligan.

With 16 stages in store for Saturday, White was fired up to re-take the lead and immediately did so. However, the Irishman was getting concerned, his car's engine hesitating intermittently when he applied the power.

Knowing that a win was now out of his grasp, Sansom opted for a finish and bag as many points as possible. He was surprised to find his less urgent driving style proved to be an advantage in the wet conditions and went fastest of the Mitsubishi runners on two of the first three stages. Unfortunately his efforts were to no avail, when his car's rear differential took a turn for the worse on stage 12, forcing the former series leader into retirement.

Also exiting the event during Saturday morning, were I'Anson, when his gearbox cried enough and Barry Groundwater, when his co-driver cried the same, having felt ill since the event began.

Then, on SS14, it was the leader's turn to be sidelined, White's fears realised when his engine finally expired. This left Wedgbury out in front, but Galligan was not about to give up and drove as hard as he could to close the 54 second gap.

As the event progressed into the afternoon the rain fell once more, catching out a number of competitors - including Damon Harvey, when a high speed spin into a post on SS17 put paid to what would have been fifth in the Evolution Challenge and his best result this year.

With the roads becoming more and more slippery, most teams chose to consolidate their positions and get to the finish, but not Galligan: Such was his pace, he recorded the fastest time overall on SS 22, proving that a well driven production specification Mitsubishi can be a match for the more powerful and highly modified WRC cars.

But try as he might, Galligan could not make an impression on Wedgbury who appeared to be in control and scored his second Evolution Challenge win of the season. Wedgbury's performance also earned him victory in Group N and an overall position of 10th, an excellent result in a round of the British Rally Championship. He now leads the series by just one point from Galligan.

"I've had a brilliant two days', reported Wedgbury. "Even though the weather made the going very tough, the stages on this event are excellent and I've really enjoyed driving. Choosing the right type of tyres helped us a lot and although we drove hard throughout the car performed superbly."

Galligan finished the event commenting it was one of the toughest rallies he has ever completed, whilst Nik Elsmore and James Edwards recorded their best results of the season so far with a well driven third and fourth respectively, the latter surviving a brush with a chicane on the penultimate stage.

David Taylor made his Evolution Challenge debut on this event and was pleased to finish fifth, especially following an excursion on Friday evening which cost him time and a number of body panels.

Ed Stallard was the sixth Evo Challenger to cross the line, collecting maximum points in the PIAA junior category. Having had to pump the brake pedal on the approach to almost every corner the 19 year old was relived to make it back to Kelso unscathed.

It's just two weeks before the sixth round of the series, the Swansea Bay Rally on 17th July, which sees Evo Challenge competitors return to the Kumho National Rally Championship and the forests of South Wales.

The 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Walon UK, Pirelli Tyres, Shell Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, PIAA UK and Mintex.

Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge Round Five - Results
1st Paul Wedgbury (Bridgnorth)/Neil Dashfield (Burnham-on-Sea) - 2hrs 25:46.7secs
2nd Rory Galligan (Oldcastle)/Jonty Bolsover (Chesterfield) - 2hrs 26:37.8 secs
3rd Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Craig Parry (Oswestry) - 2hrs 28:47.1 secs
4th James Edwards (Chelford)/Si Brown (Whitchurch) - 2hrs 30:12.8 secs
5th David Taylor (East Harling)/Tom Ward (Burham-on-Crouch) - 2hrs 35:51.7 secs
6th Ed Stallard (Cheltenham)/John Youd (Wrexham) - 2 hrs 37:33.8 secs

Retirements
SS8 Mark I'Anson (Haydon Bridge)/Graeme Walker (Henley) - Transmission
SS9 Barry Groundwater (Stonehaven)/Stephen Robson (Consett) - Co-driver Ill
SS12 Martin Sansom (Bexley Heath)/ Ieuan Thomas (Ammanford) - Transmission
SS14 Roy White (Tipperary)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) - Engine
SS17 Damon Harvey (Plymouth)/Aled Davies (Llanelli) - Accident

Series Positions

Drivers
1st Paul Wedgbury - 43 Points
2nd Rory Galligan - 42 Points
3rd Martin Sansom - 37 Points
4th Nik Elsmore - 31 Points
5th Roy White - 29 Points
6th Richard Hill - 26 Points
7th Anthony Willmington - 21 Points
8th Mike Curran - 14 Points
9th James Edwards - 12 Points
10th Tony Thompson - 11 Points

Co-drivers
1st Neil Dashfield - 43 Points
2nd Jonty Bolsover - 42 Points
3rd Ieuan Thomas - 37 Points
4th Greg Shinnors - 29 Points
5th Daniel Stone - 26 Points
6th Andy White - 21 Points
7th Cliff Simmons - 15 Points
8th Dessie Wilson - 14 Points
9th Ian Windress - 14 Points
10th Si Brown - 13 Points

PIAA Junior Driver Award
1st Mike Curran - 14 Points
2nd Ed Stallard - 13 Points
3rd Philip Morrow - 9 Points
4th John Moffatt - 6 Points
5th Joe Price - 3 Points

07/06/04
Mitsubishi Evo Challenge - Round Four Report
Galligan Claims Mitsubishi Bounty on the Mutiny A storming drive on this weekend’s Mutiny Rally saw Rory Galligan and his co-driver Jonty Bolsover win round four of the 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, a result which rewarded them with their second victory of the season.
They finished the event 37.9 seconds ahead of second placed Paul Wedgbury and Neil Dashfield - a considerable margin in Evo Challenge terms. Third place went to series leaders Martin Sansom and Ieuan Thomas, just a further 2.5 seconds behind. The rally consisted of nine special stages in the Mid-Wales forests, many of the Mitsubishi teams looking forward to the event as it suited the speed and handling characteristics of a Group N Evolution.

After leaving the start in Llandrindod Wells, the 28 registered Evolution Challenge crews embarked on the first stage, a 14 mile test through Radnor Forest. Sansom was fastest off the blocks ahead of Wedgbury, followed by Isle of Man winner, Roy White then Galligan, Nik Elsmore and Richard Hill - only 12 seconds separating the first six.

However, for some of the Evo crews, Radnor did not go according to plan, the dry and dusty conditions seeing a layer of loose gravel on the surface of the forestry roads, making the going very slippery indeed.

All four PIAA Junior Category drivers had problems in Radnor: Joe Price retired with a blown turbo adding further frustration to his season, Mike Curran pulled out with a broken clutch, Ed Stallard admitted to over driving and slid off the road damaging his Evo’s suspension, whilst Philip Morrow’s car was suffering from an intermittent fuel feed.

Anthony Willmington and Mike Brown were also hampered with turbo problems, Willmington making it back to the service halt where his team changed the offending item. However, the reward for their efforts were short lived: When trying to make up time the series front-runner slid wide and up a bank in stage two, causing the car to roll onto its roof - a manoeuvre which resulted in his immediate retirement.

Meanwhile positions at the front of the Evo Challenge field were being shuffled, Galligan blasting through the second stage to take the lead by three seconds from Wedgbury, who had in turn edged ahead of Sansom by a slender 0.6 of a second.

White was beginning to lose ground, having to hold his car’s gear lever in second and predictably was concerned about the longevity of its transmission. Hill and Elsmore held fourth and fifth respectively, but reported to be losing time in the slippery conditions.

With five stages tackled between service halts one and two at the Builth Wells Showground, many crews reported to have lost time in the conditions. Dust hanging in the air was to prove a common cause for delay, along with the slippery gravel provoking overshoots and spins. The nature of the road surface also made tyre choice an important issue, drivers finding lack of grip to be a constant problem.

Although having dropped his car into a ditch on SS5, after six stages it was still Galligan in the lead, followed by Wedgbury and Sansom, the relentless pace of the top three now seeing them pull away from the chasing pack. But with the final loop of three stages to go and just 23 seconds covering the preeminent trio, the final result was far from decided.

However, Wedgbury had his aspirations diluted, when a puncture in SS7 hindered his progress, whilst Sansom’s pace was also checked when fading brakes took the edge off a good run through the final three tests.

On the contrary, Galligan had no problems to contend posted fastest Mitsubishi times on the remaining three stages to secure his second Evo Challenge win of the season. This stunning performance also rewarded the Irishman with victory in Group N and an excellent overall position of sixth.

“Having not driven the car since the second round two months ago I am very pleased with he result,” said Galligan. “I felt good about this event and pushed hard all day, which meant we had a few scary moments. My focus was on winning the Evo Challenge, so to win Group N and finish sixth overall is a real bonus and the result reflects on how well the car and the team have worked this weekend.”

Hill ended the day in fourth, with Elsmore fifth, White sixth and another Irishman pleased with his day’s performance, Neil McCance in seventh. Stuart Cheap had his best result of the season so far with a fine eight place, as did Brendan Kelly in ninth and Barry Groundwater in tenth.

Having overcome his stage one excursion and a subsequent misfire, Ed Stallard took the honours in the PIAA Junior Category, whilst Philip Morrow coped his car’s loss of power and survived a roll at a hairpin on stage five to finish second of the under 25 section - his perseverance earing him the Shell Spirit award.

The outcome of the Mutiny Rally sees Sansom retain his series lead with 36 points at the season’s halfway point. Galligan and Wedgbury are both equal on 32 points, with White fourth on 28.

Round five of Evolution Challenge takes place on 2nd & 3rd July, with the series making its annual migration from the National Rally championship and into the British Rally Championship for the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, the second of the season’s two all asphalt events.

The 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Walon UK, Pirelli Tyres, Shell Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, PIAA UK and Mintex.

Evolution Challenge Round Four - Results
1st Rory Galligan (Oldcastle)/Jonty Bolsover (Chesterfield) - 1:11:40.0
2nd Paul Wedgbury (Bridgnorth)/Neil Dashfield (Burnham-on-Sea) - 1:12:17.9
3rd Martin Sansom (Bexley Heath)/ Ieuan Thomas (Ammanford) - 1:12:20.4
4th Richard Hill (Chesterfield)/Daniel Stone (Chesterfield) - 1:13:14.9
5th Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Cliff Simmons (Coleford) - 1:13:55.1
6th Roy White (Tipperary)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) - 1:14:44.8
7th Neil McCance (Comber)/Graham Hopewell - 1:15:14.7
8th Stuart Cheap (Gloucester)/Hamish Campbell (Stowe-on-the-Wold) - 1:15:17.0
9th Brendan Kelly (Letterkenny)/Gordon Noble - 1:15:20.3
10th Barry Groundwater (Stonehaven)/Stephen Robson (Consett) - 1:17:10.9
11th Mick Harris (Hampton Hill)/Paul Newman (Hanworth) - 1:17:12.1
12th Damon Harvey (Plymouth)/Aled Davies (Llanelli) - 1:17:47.7
13th Malloch Nicoll (Dundee)/Ian Nicoll (Dundee) - 1:17:49.7
14th Darren Snape (Stoke-on-Trent)/Anthony Adams (Stoke-onTrent) - 1:18:44.6
15th Andrew Grant (Maldon)/Vicky Johnson (Denby) - 1:19:02.2
16th Paul James (Taunton)/ Derek Davies (Swansea) - 1:19:30.3
17th Simon Close (Stamford)/Jason Hunt (Wellingore) - 1:20:27.3
18th Martin Newcombe (Plymouth)/Peter Newcombe (Plymouth) - 1:20:28.6
19th Mandy Bowman (Swansea)/Ken Bowman (Hexham) - 1:21:11.2
20th Ed Stallard (Cheltenham)/John Youd (Wrexham) - 1:21:16.0
21st Mike Altendorf (Warlingham)/Richard Wardle (Pickering) - 1:21:41.7
22nd Phillip Morrow (Lisburn)/Simon Morrow (Lisburn) - 1:22:02.9


Retirements
SS1 Joe Price (Ludlow)/Ian Allsop (Stourbridge) - Turbo
SS1 Mike Curran (Newtownards) Fabian McShane - Clutch
SS2 Mike Brown (Bourne End)/Aled Davies (Pencoed) - Turbo
SS2 Anthony Willmington (Dorchester)/Andy White (Weymouth) - Rolled
SS3 James Edwards (Chelford)/Si Brown (Whitchurch) - Transmission
SS7 Martyn England (Bridgwater)/Ian England (Taunton) - Puncture/Accident
15/05/04
Mitsubishi Evo Challenge - Roy White Wins Manx Thriller
Roy White and his co-driver Greg Shinnors recorded their maiden Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge victory this weekend, following a superb performance in the Roush Manx Rally, round three of the one-make series for Group N Lancer Evolutions. The Isle of Man based event, which also represented the third round of the Kumho National Rally Championship, enjoyed a full entry of 130 competitors, including the 20 Mitsubishi crews which made up the Evolution Challenge field. With this being the first of two rounds on asphalt many of the Irish competitors, who traditionally have an affinity for tarmac, saw this event as an opportunity for a good result.

The first five of the rally's 16 special stages over the island's closed public roads took place on Friday evening, cars leaving the start in Port Erin town centre beneath cloudless skies.

Current joint series leader, Paul Wedgbury, was first to head the Evo Challenge charge, taking fastest time on the opening test. But it was Martin Sansom who snatched the lead on SS2. As the rally continued into the darkness hours Sansom maintained his advantage finishing Friday's stages just three seconds ahead of Wedgbury, who was in turn three seconds ahead of White. Anthony Wilmington was fourth and very much in contention just a further six seconds down.

With the weather changing overnight, mist and rain greeted competitors on Saturday morning. Wet roads or not, White was determined to up his game and on the second of the day's 11 stages he edged into the Evo Challenge lead. Wedgbury responded and also went past Sansom two stages later to take second place, now just seven seconds separating the first three cars.

Although the pace quickened, the top four positions remained the same for the following two stages, even though sections of thick fog on higher ground was giving competitors a few terrifying moments.

Deciding it was now or never, Wedgbury went on charge for the lead, but at a slippery junction on SS11 his hopes were ended as the Evo VIII slid into a bank and, with too many vital components damaged, his rally was over.

Another protagonist for the Evo Challenge crown, Richard Hill, was also having a smashing time. With this being his first ever all asphalt event, he admitted to be honing his non-gravel technique, but whilst lying in ninth place, it all went very wrong on a series of jumps in SS10 and his Evo VII shot off the road backwards and into a tree.

Conversely, Dick Curran was putting his tarmac experience to good use and set the fastest Evo Challenge time on SS10, even though his car had a leaking head gasket. Almost certain he would not make it to the finish, he decided to throw caution to the wind, but was caught out in a similar way to Wedgbury on SS12.

Leading challenger for the PIAA Junior Award, Mike Curran, was another to be making progress up the leader board. Having moved from 7th to 4th during the day, his efforts were interrupted by a puncture at the start of SS12, putting him back to where he started. But the combination of a determined drive and his father's retirement saw him climb back to fourth by the finish.

At the front, White was now in command and reeled off the closing stages without putting a foot wrong to finish 11th overall, 3rd in Group N and take his first ever Evolution Challenge victory:

"This is exactly what I came here to do", said a smiling White at the finish. "I much prefer tarmac to gravel, so I knew I had to win on this event to stay in with a shot at the title. Not being in the lead on Friday made me drive flat out today, which was difficult in the conditions, but the car ran faultlessly and and we didn't have any problems, so the event really couldn't have gone any better."

Although wanting the win, Sansom had sensibly opted to ensure he finished and his well earnt second place credited him with enough points to see him emerge from the event topping the Evo Challenge points table.

Willmington kept his series hopes well and truly alive with a fine third place. His drive, whilst suffering from Tonsillitis, also earning him the Shell Spirit of the event award.

Other sound performances came from Nik Elsmore, who although disappointed with his pace finished fifth. Brendan Kelly reported he was building his confidence throughout the event and was pleased to finish sixth. Mike Brown, who was competing for the first time in over a year and although finished seventh, admitted he was a little rusty.

With former joint series leader Rory Galligan not entering, the results from this event have thrown the race for the Evolution Challenge title wide open, hotting things up even further for the remaining five rounds.

The 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Walon UK, Pirelli Tyres, Shell Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, PIAA UK and Mintex.

Round four see the series return to the Welsh forests, with the Llandrindod Wells based Mutiny Rally, which takes place on 5th June.

Evolution Challenge Round Three - Results

1st Roy White (Tipperary)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) - 1:50:26.2
2nd Martin Sansom (Bexley Heath)/ Ieuan Thomas (Ammanford) - 1:50:39.8
3rd Anthony Willmington (Dorchester)/Andy White (Weymouth) - 1:51:40.5
4th Michael Curran (Newtonards)/Dessie Wilson (Portugal) - 1:53:48.2
5th Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Craig Parry (Oswestry) - 1:54:07.4
6th Brendan Kelly (Letterkenny)/Shaun Lafferty (Co Donegal) - 1:55:17.5
7th Mike Brown (Bourne End)/Dave Taylor (Harrow) - 1:59.19.2
8th Neil McCance (Comber)/Richard Hanniford (Belfast) - 1:59:27.0
9th Tony Thompson (Darlington)/Ian Windress (Northallerton) - 2:00:42.0
10th Martin Newcombe (Plymouth)/Peter Newcombe (Plymouth) - 2:07:11.9
11th Simon Close (Corby)/Jason Hunt (Lincoln) - 2:07:13.0
12th Paul James (Taunton)/Derek Davies (Swansea) - 2:08:39.7

Retirements

SS2 Damon Harvey (Plymouth)/Aled Davies (Llanelli) - Accident/Suspension
SS6 Noel Kelly (Isle of Man)/James Kelly (Isle of Man) - Accident
SS7 Joe Price (Ludlow)/Ian Allsop (Stourbridge) - Oil Cooler
SS8 James Edwards (Chelford)/Si Brown (Whitchurch) - Transmission
SS10 Richard Hill (Chesterfield)/Daniel Stone (Chesterfield) - Accident
SS11 Paul Wedgbury (Bridgnorth)/Neil Dashfield (Burnham-on-Sea) - Accident
SS12 Dick Curran (Newtonards)/Calvin Cooledge (Ruthin) - Accident
SS15 Ed Stallard (Cheltenham)/John Youd (Wrexham) - Transmission

Series Positions

Drivers
1st Martin Sansom - 27 Points
2nd Paul Wedgbury - 22 Points
3rd Roy White - 22 Points
4th Rory Galligan - 21 Points
5th Anthony Willmington - 20 Points
6th Richard Hill - 18 Points
7th Nik Elsmore - 15 Points
8th Mike Curran - 13 Points
9th Tony Thompson - 11 Points
10th Phillip Morrow - 8 Points

Co-drivers
1st Ieuan Tomas - 27 Points
2nd Neil Dashfield - 22 Points
3rd Greg Shinnors - 22 Points
4th Jonty Bolsover - 21 Points
5th Andy White - 20 Points
6th Daniel Stone - 18 Points
7th Dessie Wilson - 13 Points
8th Ian Windress - 13 Points
9th Cliff Simmons - 8 Points
10th Simon Morrow - 8 Points

PIAA Junior Driver Award Positions
Mike Curran - 14 Points
John Moffatt - 6 Points
Phillip Morrow - 5 Points
Ed Stallard - 3 Points
Joe Price - 3 Points

08/04/04
Wedgbury Wins Mitsubishi Round Two
Paul Wedgbury, together with his co-driver, Neil Dashfield, recorded a text book victory in round two of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge on this weekend's Astra Stages Rally, crossing the finish line an authoritative 40 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals, Rory Galligan and Jonty Bolsover. Due to an oversubscribed entry, 27 of the 40 registered Evolution Challenge crews left the start in Llangollen to compete over 75 miles and the nine special stages in the forests of North Wales. With rain a feature for most of the day, teams had to contend with slippery surfaces on the gravel roads.

Wedgbury signalled his intentions right from the start setting fastest Evo Challenge time on the opening stage, a performance good enough to give him the lead in Group N (the class for near standard specification cars). Richard Hill, who was third in round one, was just one second behind, with Anthony Willmington in third and much happier now he was back in his own Evo VI.

Wedgbury increased his Challenge lead to 22 seconds on the second stage and when crews arrived at the first service halt in Bala, it was clear that whilst he was having a good day, other drivers were not: Hill had suffered two punctures and dropped to fourth and Willmington's car was not handling as well as he would like. Albeit with no intercom for the first two stages, Galligan had moved up to second place.

The chase was now on to catch Wedgbury and the next two stages saw the battle behind him intensify. At the second service halt the gap between first and second remained the same, but the next five cars were separated by less than 20 seconds. Martin Sansom had now moved into third with Philip Morrow fourth and the leading junior driver.

Geoff Smith recorded the most spectacular exit of the day whilst lying eighth of the Evo runners, his car leaving the road in a big way on SS3.

With weather conditions worsening the top three held stations for the next two tests. Hill now had the bit between his teeth and was making up ground from his earlier delays to claim fourth before service halt number three, Willmington an Morrow rounding off the top six.

Wedgbury embarked on the final three tests 15 seconds ahead of Galligan who was determined to challenge for the lead - but with a puncture on SS7 his chances were gone.

Hearing of Galligan¹s plight Wedgbury played it cool for the remainder of the rally to ensure he made it back to Llangollen to take his maiden Evo Challenge win:

³Everything has worked well today: The driving, the pace notes and especially the car², said Wedgbury. ³I felt right on top of things all day and was happy to take it steady in the latter part of the event and forgo the Group N lead, as the most important thing for me this year is to win the Evo Challenge and not the National Production Cup.²

Galligan¹s puncture had caused the battle for second place to get even hotter, Sansom managing to close within three seconds of the Irishman, with Hill just 0.9 second behind in fourth. Philip Morrow held on to fifth to claim the PIAA Junior Award, his performance also earning him the Shell Racing Fuels Spirit of the Challenge trophy, as he and his co-driving brother had to swap seats on the road sections due to an anomaly with their insurance.

The Walon Best Prepared Car Award was won for the second time running by Damon Harvey.

The 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is supported by: Mitsubishi Motors UK, Walon UK, Pirelli Tyres, Shell Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, PIAA UK and Mintex.

Round three sees the first of the two asphalt surface events, when crews make the trip to the Isle of Man on 7th & 8th May.

Evolution Challenge Round Two - Results

1st Paul Wedgbury (Bridgnorth)/Neil Dashfield (Burnham-on-Sea) - 1:18:42.9
2nd Rory Galligan (Oldcastle)/Jonty Bolsover (Chesterfield) - 1:19:18.6
3rd Martin Sansom (Bexley Heath)/ Ieuan Thomas (Ammanford) - 1:19:21.5
4th Richard Hill (Chesterfield)/Daniel Stone (Chesterfield) - 1:19:22.4
5th Phillip Morrow (Lisburn)/Simon Morrow (Lisburn) - 1:20:20.0
6th Anthony Willmington (Dorchester)/Andy White (Weymouth) - 1:21:02.8
7th Roy White (Tipperary)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) - 1:21:45.3
8th Tony Thompson (Darlington)/Ian Windress (Northallerton) - 1:21:54.4
9th Barry Groundwater (Stonehaven)/Stephen Robson (Consett) - 1:22:43.1
10th Michael Curran (Newtonards)/Dessie Wilson (Portugal) - 1:22:46.8
11th Nik Elsmore (Coleford)/Cliff Simmons (Coleford) - 1:24:12.6
12th Damon Harvey (Plymouth)/Aled Davies (Llanelli) - 1:24:54.2
13th Ed Stallard (Cheltenham)/John Youd (Wrexham) - 1:24:57.4
14th John Moffatt (Corse)/Mike Hart (Leominster) - 1:25:00.7
15th Brendan Kelly (Letterkenny)/Rory Kennedy (Letterkenny) - 1:25:01.0
16th Neil McCance (Comber)/Richard Hanniford (Belfast) - 1:25:10.8
17th Mick Harris (Hampton Hill)/Paul Newman (Hanworth) - 1:26:12.6
18th Martyn England (Bridgwater)/Ian England (Taunton) - 1:27:34.0
19th Dick Curran (Newtonards)/Gary Lyons (Craigavon) - 1:27:43.8
20th Mandy Bowman (Swansea)/Ken Bowman (Hexham) - 1:31:19.4

Retirements
SS3 Geoff Smith (Chertsey)/Andy Juniper (Aylesbury) - Accident
SS3 Paul James (Taunton)/ Derek Davies (Swansea) - ECU
SS5 James Morton (Twyford)/Chris Beare - Electrical
SS6 James Edwards (Chelford)/Si Brown (Whitchurch) - Oil Cooler
SS7 Steve Blunt (Woking)/Andy Wilson
SS8 Jon Ingram (Bowden)/Daniel Barritt
SS8 Andrew Grant (Maldon)/Vicky Johnson (Denby)

Series Positions

Drivers
1st Rory Galligan - 21 Points
1st Paul Wedgbury - 21 Points
3rd Richard Hill - 17 Points
3rd Martin Sansom - 17 Points
5th Roy White - 11 Points
5th Anthony Willmington - 11 Points
7th Nik Elsmore - 8 Points
7th Tony Thompson - 8 Points
9th Phillip Morrow - 7 Points
10th Mike Curran - 5 Points


Co-drivers
1st Jonty Bolsover - 21 Points
1st Neil Dashfield - 21 Points
3rd Daniel Stone - 17 Points
3rd Ieuan Tomas - 17 Points
5th Greg Shinnors - 11 Points
5th Andy White - 11 Points
7th Cliff Simmons - 8 Points
7th Ian Windress - 8 Points
9th Simon Morrow - 7 Points
10th Dessie Wilson - 5 Points


PIAA Junior Driver Award Positions
Mike Curran - 9 Points
John Moffatt - 6 Points
Phillip Morrow - 5 Points
Ed Stallard - 3 Points



01/03/04
Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - Round One Report County Meath Drivers Shine in Opening Round
1. Galligan Gets the Gold
2. Crealey Wins for Mitsubishi First Time Out

1. Galligan Gets the Gold

Irishman Rory Galligan, from Oldcastle, recorded a stunning victory in round one of the 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge this weekend, when he and co-driver Jonty Bolsover beat 38 other Mitsubishi teams across the line driving their VRS Motorsport prepared Lancer Evolution VIII. The Bournemouth based Rallye Sunseeker hosted round one of the single make series for Group N (production specification) Mitsubishi Evolutions and the first of seven rounds in the Kumho National Rally Championship.

Although having had limited time to test the car prior to the event, Galligan was determined to go for glory in pursuit of the end of season award, which provides the Evolution Challenge Champion the opportunity to become a works UK Group N driver in 2005.

The rally comprised two stages on Friday evening with a run through Bournemouth¹s ornamental gardens followed by a blast along the sea front road. The remainder of the event¹s 75 competitive miles took place on Saturday with 14 stages in the Forests of Ringwood and Wareham.

The 30 year old County Meath driver opted for a cautions start in order to get to know his car and re-acclimatise himself to the sport, having not competed in a major event for over a year.

With temperatures on Friday night dropping well below zero, the previous night¹s unsuspected snow had turned to ice and made the forest roads a treacherous prospect for the drivers. Starting the day 5th of the Evo Challenge runners, Galligan called on his undeniable natural talent to cope with the difficult conditions.

Still learning the characteristics of his brand new Mitsubishi, Galligan began to increase his pace, to a point where he posted the second fastest time overall on SS6 - a tremendous performance considering the event boasted an entry of 130 cars!

After a day long battle with his Mitsubishi counterparts, Galligan surged into the Evo Challenge lead on stage nine, a position he maintained for the remainder of the rally and a result good enough to secure 3rd place in Group N and an overall position of 10th.

As he crossed the finish line on Bournemouth Sea Front a delighted Galligan said:

³This is a fantastic result, not just for me, but for the whole VRS Motorsport Team. I took it steady to begin with, but as I got used to the car and how well it was performing in the conditions I was able to go quicker and quicker as the day progressed. We could not have wished for a better start to the year.²

Galligan¹s VRS Motorsport team mate and fellow County Meath driver, Padraig Price, who was co-driven by his son Richard, both from Mullingar, came home 18th of the 39 Evolution Challenge runners following an ?interesting¹ day¹s motorsport.

Having made the transition from tarmac rallying a Ford Escort in Ireland to forest rallying in the UK in a Mitsubishi, Price was faced with a steep learning curve. However, he dealt with the conditions admirably and was ahead of 27 others in the Evolution Challenge as he started SS6, the longest test of the day.

Poised to improve on his 12th position, Price was disappointed to collect a puncture halfway through the stage, losing 30 seconds in the process.

In an attempt to make up for lost time his progress was further hampered on SS8, when a high speed overshoot at an icy corner saw him disappear down an escape road, the Mitsubishi plunging through a variety of foliage before coming to rest. Although the crew and car were completely unscathed, the incident had lost them further valuable time and had unsettled their concentration. Price therefore opted for a more steady approach for the remainder of the day¹s stages:

³The whole event was a new experience for me and although we had a few exciting moments I thoroughly enjoyed the rally. Considering what we put it through the VRS car ran very well and with the amount I¹ve learnt over the past 24 hours I¹m really looking forward to the next event.²

Galligan and Price will next compete in round two of the Evolution Challenge which takes place on 3rd April. The event starts and finishes in Llangollen with the stages running through the forests of Northern Wales.

2. Crealey Wins for Mitsubishi First Time Out
Brendan Crealey and co-driver Steve Harris gave the works Mitsubishi Motors UK Lancer Evolution VIII its maiden Group N victory first time out on this weekend¹s Rallye Sunseeker, the opening round of the 2004 Kumho National Rally Championship.

Crealey was awarded his works drive for 2004 for winning the 2003 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge. Although looking forward to the season ahead, Crealey, from Portadown and Harris, from Sheffield, were aware that the pressure was on to win the Group N Class (the category for near standard specification cars). A works entry from Subaru driven by the experienced Geoff Jones and 39 competitors in the Evolution Challenge all out to topple last year¹s Group N Champion off his pedestal.

ADR Motorsport, the team responsible for running the works Evo, had experienced a hard week on the lead up to this weekend. Pre-event testing had highlighted that the mapping for the engine¹s ECU was not ideal and the team worked tirelessly to ensure the car was ready, not only for the rally, but the media launch on Friday morning at Somerley Park near Ringwood.

The Bournemouth based event commenced on Friday evening with two runs through the town¹s botanical gardens and along the esplanade. In front of 1000s of spectators Crealey showed he had lost none of his last year¹s form and immediately set fastest Group N times, claiming a position of 13th overall out of a field of 130 cars.

Saturday saw 14 stages in the Ringwood and Wareham forests, the first of which were punctuated with intermittent patches of ice. Crealey rev

Topics: Evo Challenge UK 





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