Nick Elliott and Dace Price opened their bid for the 2017 Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship in the best possible style on the opening round, today's Red Kite Stages (Sunday 19 February).
The Cheltenham Ford Escort Mk2 crew finished the day with a winning margin of 35s over defending champions Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke after 45-miles of classic Welsh stages on the Llandovery-based event.
As the BHRC started its third season under the management of the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club, a top quality entry delivered a tremendous spectacle over six stages, five on the gravel roads in the Epynt region and one in Caeo forest.
Elliott/Price won Category 3 while Pritchard/Clarke headed Category K at the start of what is likely to a fierce championship battle. Joe Price/Chris Brooks should have made it a three-way lead contest, but were forced out by diff failure in the second stage. Other Category 3 class winners were Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons (Ford Escort Mk2) in D3 and David Hopkins/Tony Vart (Sunbeam Talbot) in D2.
Stanley Orr/Stephen McAuley set the early pace in the Capital Construction Category 2 as Orr stepped up to BDA power in his Escort Mk1, but rear suspension problems that had dogged their progress finally put them out in Crychan. Instead, the category was a battle of the Hillman Avengers as Elliot Retallick/Tim Tugwell headed Andrew Stokes/Adrian McNally after a day-long contest. Simon Pickering and Paul Barbet (Ford Escort Mk1) were third and claimed class C3.
In the Vintage Car Radiator Company Category 1, the Mini Cooper of Phil Harris/Richard Suter saw off the Ford Cortina GT of Mike Barratt/Emily Retallick. Like most of the crews, Harris reported excellent stages on an event that was extremely well organised by the team from Amman and District Motor Club.
The 2017 Mintex MSA British Historic Rally Championship will start on the Red Kite Stages (Sunday 19 February) with the historics tackling 45-miles of classic Welsh stages on the Llandovery-based event.
As the BHRC starts its third season under the management of the Roger Albert Clark Rally Motor Club, Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke will open their bid for a record third straight title and their Ford Escort Mk2 leads the overall field away. Leading the chase of Pritchard and Clarke will be the similar Escorts of Nick Elliott/Dave Price and Joe Price/Chris Brooks, while a gaggle of other quick Escorts pack out the top quality historic entry.
In Category 2, Stanley Orr/Stephen McAuley head the Capital Construction Category 2 as Orr steps up to BDA power in his Escort Mk1, while the Vintage Car Radiator Company Category 1 will be a straight battle between the Mini Cooper of Phil Harris and the Ford Cortina GT of Mike Barratt/Emily Retallick.
Category K and Category 3
1 Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke (Ford Escort Mk2)
2 Nick Elliott/Dave Price (Ford Escort Mk2)
3 Joe Price/Chris Brooks (Ford Escort Mk2)
14 Steve Bennett/Paul Wakely (Ford Escort Mk2)
15 Rudi Lancaster/Guy Weaver (Ford Escort Mk2)
16 Simon Webster/Jez Rogers (Ford Escort Mk2)
17 Ben Friend/Cliffy Simmons (Ford Escort Mk2)
9 Stanley Orr/ Stephen McAuley (Ford Escort Mk1)
29 Phil Jobson/Arwel Jenkins (Ford Escort Mk1)
33 Simon Pickering/Paul Barbet (Ford Escort Mk1)
52 Phil Harris/tba (Mini Cooper)
53 Mike Barratt/Emily Retallick (Ford Cortina GT)