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Teenager thrills rally fans

Created on 01/11/2017 @ 08:30
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On a weekend that saw Mid Wales driver Elfyn Evans stun the FIA World Rally Championship with a magnificent ‘home’ victory on the Wales Rally GB, more local success has been achieved.

Welshpool teenager and Motorsport Association Academy Driver Zak Hughes and highly experienced co-driver Chris Evans achieved a top three finish in the 1600cc class and a win in the Suzuki Swift Series.

After a dazzling ceremonial launch in front of thousands of spectators in Chester on the Friday, the pair got down to business on Day One in the Mid Wales forests where the first few stages went well, as he topped the time sheets in the Suzuki Swift Championship.

Although leading his championship comfortably, there was no let up for Hughes and Evans, as they joined a battle for a top three overall in the 1600cc class.

By the end of day one they were lying 28th overall and second in the 1600cc class, a huge achievement against the more advanced machinery competing.

“Day 1 was hard work, stages were very rough and rutted after the WRC cars,” said Hughes. “We had been struggling with set up all day, which restricted the pace significantly. The lads from SVP Motorsport worked very hard on Saturday night to improve this ready for another go on Day 2.

That second day consisted of shorter stages but Hughes and Evans would string together three very good stage times, mixing times inside the top 20. This would promote them to 23rd overall, whilst maintaining the Swift Championship lead and second in the 1600cc class. 

Most important of all, winning the penultimate round of the Swift Championship would lead to Hughes being crowned the 2017 Swift Series champion, a great achievement in just his first year of senior rallying.

“Day 2 was perfect for me, very enjoyable stages and the mechanics managed to transform the handling of the car," he added. "I am very happy to have won the 2017 Swift Championship with a fourth win in the series.  To finish so high up the overall leader board on Wales Rally GB is also a fantastic achievement.

“I would like to say a special thank you to CSG Signs Exhibition Hire, for their support for this event, and Philip Paul Car Centre for their amazing support all season, without them I would not have been able to undertake the assault on the Swift Championship.”

Evans, from Dinas Mawddwy, led throughout the weekend to become the first Welshman to win the event, and the first Brit since Richard Burns in 2000.

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