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RAC14 1st entriesOverseas interest in the 2014 Roger Albert Clark Rally (28-30 November) is running well ahead of expectations after four of the first 10 entries were lodged by crews from mainland Europe.

The first batch of entries included Bas Jansen/Ruud van den Houdt (Ford Escort Mk2) and Armand Adriaans/Anne-Marie (Porsche 911) from the Netherlands as well as two husband and wife crews from Germany: Thomas and Martina Schulz (Ford Escort Mk2) and Thomas and Andrea Kleinwachter (Porsche 911).

“We’re delighted with the level of interest from Europe,” said Rally Manager Colin Heppenstall. “It seems that Kielder is very well known in Europe and the crews are keen to come and sample these stages.”

In the Open Rally, early entries include Martyn Hawkswell and Nick Welch (Ford Escort Mk2) who will be bidding for a fourth straight win. If they do, they will better Steve Bannister’s three Open Rally wins from the first three editions of the rally in 2004, ’05 and ’06.

With the rally start, finish and HQ all based in Sunderland, the route will take in 28 special stages in a total competitive route of 187 stage miles. With 568 road miles in an event that runs for just 48 hours, the 2014 edition is expected to be the toughest yet. It will also be the second longest gravel rally in the UK this year, sitting just behind the 192 stage miles of Wales Rally GB.

Heppenstall has recently completed his final major route survey and says that the stages are in outstanding condition. The Forestry Commission team had been busy re-grading some sections when Heppenstall visited the forests. “The work they have done is beautiful. For instance, the 13-mile Whitehill stage, which is also known as Clintburn, is like a motorway,” said Heppenstall.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit http://www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

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