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Hughes wins in Blackpool

 
Created on 20/06/2016 @ 08:55
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The British Kickstart Formula 1000 Junior Rally Championship moved to the North West and the 12 multi surface stages at Weeton Military Base in Blackpool.

The drama started before the rally had even started as the entry list was full a couple of weeks before the event leaving half a dozen drivers to take a place on the reserve list. This included title challengers Zak Hughes and navigator Chris Evans from Welshpool, who’s season would be over if they didn’t score well in this round. Thankfully, other senior entries backed out giving Hughes and Evans the place they needed.

Going into the first two stages Peter Bennett in his Skoda Citigo would set a pair of fastest stage times, closely followed by Josh Mcerlean only four seconds behind, Hughes in third a further seven seconds behind.

As the teams prepared for SS4, the heavens opened giving a lot of the drivers their first experience of wet weather rallying this season. The rain caught out leader Bennett who locked up at a tight corner losing him 15-20 seconds and dropping him into second. McErlean kept his cool, setting the quickest time of the stage to regain lead of the event.

At the half way point, McErlean was just one second ahead of Bennett who was now tied with Hughes for second.

The day was about to get as dramatic as the dark skies overhead as on SS7, McErlean clipped a kerb on the second corner, damaging the rear tyre and forcing him to stop on the stage. Taking advantage of this error was Hughes who was flying in the tricky conditions and went from third place to having a commanding 11 second lead.

He would go on to extend this lead over the next couple of stages giving him a 44 second lead after 10 stages. The dismal weather also meant that the event would be reduced from 12 to 11 stages leaving Hughes with just one stage to navigate safely and take his first win of the season.

The Welshman had been in the same position in round one, only for unforeseen technical issues to cost him the win on the penultimate stage. However, he drove SS11 faultlessly to take home the winner’s trophy and get his title challenge back on track with a commanding win of over a minute.

The juniors now have a break over the summer and will next be in action on the Solway Coast Rally in Scotland in August.

Here are results of the top 5 in the junior rally:

1st - Zak Hughes - Citroen C1 - 1:21:34

2nd - Finlay Retson - Citroen C1 - 1:22:41

3rd - Peter Bennett - Skoda Citigo - 1:22:43

4th - Ewan Tindall - Citroen C1 - 1:24:10

5th - Alex Holliday - Nissan Micra - 1:27:21


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