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nonameOpening round of the Junior F1000Ecosse Championship brings1st win of the season:

‘We arrived at Charter hall early on the saturday morning believing it to be the last rally ever at this venue. With this in mind I knew I would have to do my utmost to win it. If successful it would be the 3rd “Vassallo” win at Charterhall, with one from dad and 2 from myself.

Mike and I set out into the first stage with an intention to blitz it. We did and took 32 seconds from the closest car. We turned round and went straight out into the second stage. Not knowing we were this far ahead we decided to have a push on this one as well, unfortunately we locked up into one of the chicanes and had to reverse, this cost us a good 5 seconds. After the first two stages we had a 42 second lead and felt confident we could control it from the front.

During service period we changed the pads because they were over heating and fading. While bedding them in slowly in the service area, I felt the gear changes were feeling sluggish, but with only 2 minutes to go we knew if something wasn’t right we would have to run with it anyway. Luckily the problem cleared off the line and we were en-route to what started as a brilliant stage. The car was flying, but on a long gravelly “2 left” it bottomed out on a bump, pushing us hugely sideways. We caught the slide, then went for 3rd gear and it wouldn’t engage, in fact no other gear would either. So for the last 1.5 miles we were stuck in 2nd gear.This included a mixture of high speed sections and 3 tight chicanes, where it was almost impossible not to stall. However we didn’t and we were both pleased and surprised to find we were10 seconds quicker than anyone else through the stage.

We managed to limp the car back to service where the service crew, Rob and Paul had 6 minutes to find the problem and then fix it. They quickly established it was a snapped gear linkage cable, which is normally a 15 minute job to change at best. With 5 minutes to go it almost looked impossible, however the lads buckled down and with 5 seconds to go and a cut hand later, they had brilliantly managed to do what seemed impossible. We clocked in on time and went out to win the next 3 stages.

It was a huge team effort to win this one and definitely couldn’t have done it without the lads. Overall, we won by 1 minute 5 seconds over Ryan Weston in the Aygo, also ran by Team Birbeck. For the team to have a one, two from the opening round is brilliant and I’m sure both Ryan and myself are determined to try to repeat these performances throughout the rest of the season as a Big thank you to Birkbeck Rally team, not forgetting its members go beyond those on the event. I’m beginning to understand why my dad turned to Chris to help support and develop my future in the sport.

The best news of the day was certainly the announcement at the end of the rally that this wouldn’t be the last Charter Hall!!!

I’m sure I speak for all the Junior team when I say  Big thank you to all those involved in the event and I know that as long as there is a Charterhall event, then this Vassallo will be there for each of them.”

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