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malcolmwilson14 (20)Back to the Lakes for what turned out to be a historic day which saw Paul Bird, co-driven by Aled Davies (Focus WRC), take his 4th win on this event and equal the all time record of wins set by Bill Dobie. He set out in determined form and went fastest through the first 4 stages. David Bogie & Kevin Rae (Focus WRC) were just under 20 seconds back at first service but a puncture on stage 5 saw them drop back before a rear differential problem saw them slip back further to 4th overall. Instead it was fellow Scots Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton (Focus WRC) who took the fight to Bird. They had been suffering through the first half of the rally with their own mechanical gremlins but once they were fixed at service Thorburn went fastest on all of the final 4 stages, closing in from 38 to 15 seconds behind Bird by the end of the event.

Completing the podium were Stephen Petch & Ian Windress (Focus WRC) who almost lost it all going in to Greystoke 2, coming through incredibly late and almost OTL. Tom Naughton & Andi Mort (Evo IX) took a fine group N victory by 10 seconds from Alex Allingham & Chris Williams (Impreza), after a day long battle through the Lake District stages.

In the 2WD part of the rally Matthew Robinson & Sam Collis (Escort MkII) took a memorable win from Steve Bannister & Louise Sutherland (Escort MkII) by just 3 seconds. Bannister was fastest by 2 seconds on stages 1 & 3, equal with Robinson on stage 2 but 6 slower on stage 4, so as the pair went to service Robinson led by 2. Bannister then got 3 back on stage 5 before Robinson struck back to go 2 quicker on stage 6. Stage 7 saw Robinson go 8 seconds faster and although Bannister took 6 seconds back on Robinson an epic battle had gone the way of the young pretender this time. Completing the podium were Nigel Worswick & Paula Swinscoe (Escort MkII).

In the 1400’s Matt Smith & Giles Dykes (Ka) were leading at service but the engine let go on stage 6 and they were out of the event. Instead David Bennett & Alistair McNeil (Corsa) took victory but they had been close to Smith heading in to the Grizedale complex of stages. Bennett had fought his way back past Justin Lawson & Paul Hargreaves (Nova) who had been 2nd to Smith early on. Bennett extended his lead through the event and took victory by 28 seconds from Lawson. Ash Slights & Alex Lee (Yaris) were just over 40 seconds back in 3rd place.

In the Rally First battle Neil Andrew & Dom Adams (Lupo) won by just 7 seconds after a major incident at our vantage point on the opening stage. The 1.0 litre category only had one finisher so Sam Bilham & Graham Wild (Micra) took the honours.

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