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Another fantastic day down in Somerset for the 3rd round of the 2011 BTRDA rally championship. Starting first in the main field were Andrew Burton & Robin Kellard (Peugeot Cosworth) who took an initial lead only for Hugh Hunter & Andy Marchbank (Focus WRC) to push past them by 1 second overall into first service. Porlock followed and Burton lost time on his less favoured surface and fell behind Roger Chilman & Andrew Sankey (Impreza WRC) also. Hunter held an 8 second lead over Chilman and 11 seconds over Burton after Porlock but then came the push. Chilman halved the gap in two stages and Burton was only a second further back, then on Croydon both Burton & Chilman clawed back the margin so all 3 crews went into the final two stages level. Hunter retaliated as he blitzed the Timberscombe stage and took a further second out of Chilman on the final stage to win by 6 seconds from Chilman. Burton slipped back to 3rd, 17 seconds behind, as his clutch starting to go in Croydon and cost him time on the startlines of the final two stages.

In the 2WD battle it was even closer as Jim Munden & John Leigh (Escort MkII) took victory by a single second from Allan McDowall & Gavin Heseltine (Kaddett). The pair had been dead level after the penultimate stage so it came down to the final stage and Munden completed his comeback to take a final gasp victory. Completing the podium over a minute back were Boyd Kershaw & Bryan Hull (Escort MkII), but memory of the event has to come from Porlock where we witnessed a bizarre incident which continued to the end of the stage. Dave Brick (Escort MkII) on his secodn run caught Simon Munden (Impreza) on his first run and when he couldn’t get past after sounding the horn rammed Munden! The stage was briefly stopped whilst the crews sorted out their differences at the finish line.

In the 1400’s Julian Wilkes & Will Rutherford (Nova) dominated and took the class by almost a minute. Shaun & Andrew Bolt (Corsa) were a fine second holding off a late surge from Darren Pinchin & Karen Watts (Satria) as they took 3rd place. And finally in the historics it was an all Escort MkII top three with Terry Brown & Tomos Whittle victorious  by 9 seconds from Warren Philliskirk & Matthew Whattam, with Barry Jordan & James Gratton-Smith third.

Video to follow in the distant future…

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