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PhilHall Plains15Fresh from his class win at the Somerset Stages last month, co-driver Phil Hall returned to his winning ways as he scored yet another dominant class B10 victory at last Saturdays (16th May) REIS-Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series qualifier, the Plains Rally.  The Welshpool based event was the fourth round of the all-gravel championship and Hall guided the rapid Ford Fiesta R2 pilot Rhys Yates through the infamous Welsh stages to a result which, despite missing the opening round of the season, gives Hall three maximum scores on the class leader board. He also maintains the lead of the class with nine points in hand.

Blidworth based Hall kick started his season campaign with the MSA English Rally Championship opener, the Malcolm Wilson Rally back in March and has not looked back since. The decision to head to Wales for the Plains Rally was made to boost the duo’s BTRDA title hopes, complimenting perfectly their MSA English campaign. This proved to be a decision well made as the pairing kicked off the event with a solid third fastest stage time across the ultra-slippery Cwm Celli test.

Quickly settling into the groove across the same stages as used for the World Rally Championship qualifier Wales Rally GB, Hall stopped the clocks in the Fiesta with a time good enough to grab second spot after stage two, Gartheiniog. Eyes were now firmly set on class leader Thomas Lloyd in the Peugeot 205 and as Hall and Yates approached the final loop of the event, had halved the deficit to just two seconds. With the class lead in sight, they mounted a charge and emerged from the penultimate stage having converted a two second deficit into a three second lead.

With just one stage remaining, the battle would go down to the wire for class victory.  But a few miles into the final stage, Hall noticed the stricken 205 of Lloyd parked up on the side of stage.  Remaining focused; Hall and Yates appeared from the second run through Garthieniog stage class winners and returned to the Welshpool finish ramp with a maximum points haul for their championship aspirations.

“It was a really intense battle all day long and it’s really great to see our pace improve from stage to stage” said Hall.  “It really was a fantastic run through the event and it’s great to see how committed Rhys is in the car, he can really peddle that Fiesta and he certainly has the measure of it now.  We gel well together in the car and the B10 class is really competitive, responding to pressure is as important as the pace too. Our result proves that and being inside the top 50 of an event which houses some of the best rally drivers in the country is a real credit. There is more to come from us this year and I`ll be keeping a close eye on my place in the BTRDA class standings”.

Hall is sponsored by TR Enterprises, Historic Sporting Cars, Blidworth, Notts.

Image courtesy of Chris Evans (chrisevans2107@btinternet.com)

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