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Alexander Vassallo clinched the top spot in the inaugural 2012 Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge on the usedcarparts.co.uk Solway Coast Junior Rally on 12th August. Driving his Citroen C1 rally car, and co-driven by Howard Paterson, he took another solid victory in the rally held on the military ranges near Kirkcudbright. This was his 5th win out of 5 starts in the 6 event Championship for 14 to 17 year old rally drivers. The reaction from Alexander from Corebridge in Northumberland when he stepped out of his rally car at the end of the event was – “That was the best yet. The rally stages were superb – the first “real” roads we have competed on this year. Can we do it again? I am really chuffed to become the first Champion of the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge and it has been great to compete against and become friends with all the other Ecosse Challenge competitors.”

The other 13 competitors tried to give chase but, after a blistering time on the first stage from Alexander that was 34 seconds quicker than his nearest rival, it was a hopeless task. In second place on the rally were Ryan Weston from Aberdeen and Phill Harrison from S Wales in a Toyota Aygo. The team tried hard to keep the pressure on Alexander but that first stage time was always going to be very difficult to overcome.

In third place in a Nissan Micra were local crew of Harry Marchbank and Mark McCulloch. They knew that Alexander was out of reach but they kept the pressure on Ryan. But on the day, Ryan had the edge and finished after 6 stages 28seconds in front of Harry.

These leading drivers were just 3 out of the 14 starters who did so much to impress everybody who saw them in action during the day. They “almost” did not put a foot wrong and  their speed and commitment was a sight to behold.

Four or five drivers had problems or excursions during the day but the one that everyone felt for was young Ben Crealey who had come over form N Ireland to “try his hand” against the Ecosse Challenge talent. And he was doing a very fine job battling away with Harry Marchbank for the final podium spot. But on the second last stage the wee blue Micra did not appear out of the stage in correct sequence. Where had he got to? A wire had become dislodged in the engine and it took the crew a good 5 or 6 minutes to find it. But a great big smile was still on his face when the crew headed for Stranraer and  the ferry home to N Ireland. They will be back.

The next and final round of the 2012 Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge will be at Kames Motorsport Complex on 16th September.

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