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SONY DSCIn a sleep starved weekend we saw our 2nd four way title fight decided on the Otterburn Ranges. After a foggy start Damian Cole & Elliott Edmondson (Focus WRC) made a flying start and gained over half a minute on their title rivals. With mixed conditions they continued to build on this and following the retirement of Steve Simpson & Patrick Walsh (Impreza WRC) with a cracked gearbox casing after stage 5, a 4th title looked assured. Paul Bird & Aled Davies (Focus WRC) were struggling after steering issues on the first two loops whilst John Indri & Josh Davison (Darrian T90 GTR) were struggling to keep pace in the slippery conditions.

After stage 7 though Cole missed an officials request and was duly handed a 2 minute time penalty pushing him back down the field just ahead of Bird and Indri. It was game on for the title once more. Indri was hampered by only having rear wheel drive in the changeable conditions and eventually called it a day before stage 12. It all came down to the final loop and after going fastest on stages 10 & 11 Bird was now 3 seconds ahead of Cole and would be champion if he keep hold Cole at bay. A fastest time on stage 12 saw Bird extend his lead over Cole to 6 seconds, jumping up into 2nd overall.

A stage maximum on the final stage saw Bird’s title push falter as he slipped to 9th overall and a fired up Cole took an 8th stage win to take the rally and the title. John Stone & Carl Williamson (Fabia WRC) moved up to 2nd overall after a good display over the ranges all day. Simon Mauger & Brian Cammack (Escort MkII) had made a sterling effort to be leading going into the final stage but the biblical weather conditions were too much for RWD surrounded by others with 4WD and they slipped back to 3rd overall.

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