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F1000_PR6_15_CSRWhilst the fight for the 2015 Kick Energy Junior 1000 Rally Championship title was decided back in October at the Peter Lloyd Stages in the favour of Charlie Barlow, but the battle for second in the series was wide open. And it was Welshpool Junior driver Zak Hughes who took victory at the final round last weekend to take the runner up spot in the Championship at the Cadwell Stages Junior Rally. Held at the race circuit in Louth, Lincolnshire, Hughes took his Citroen C1 to a start-to-finish win with co-driver Chris Evans alongside, beating Tom Delaney/Joe Cruttenden’s Suzuki Alto by 19 seconds from 2015 champions Charlie Barlow/Tom Hutchings in their Nissan Micra.

After taking maximum points at the last round in Wales, Hughes looked like his form was set to continue thanks to taking fastest stage times over the opening two stages of the day. It was this cushion which would enable him to secure a well-deserved third win of year and the Welshpool pilot was never out of the top three stage times all event long. Being held up behind a slower car earlier in the day didn’t seem to phase Delaney and the Suzuki driver knuckled down throughout the remainder of the day to take second, setting a fastest stage time on the penultimate stage which was the first of two held in the dark around the tricky and damp race circuit.

Whilst this wasn’t a race for points for Barlow, the youngster was keen to make it seven wins from seven starts but all didn’t go the Micra driver’s way.  A time only good enough for fifth on the opener meant he spent the rest of the day playing catch up. Despite three of the eight fastest stage times, it wasn’t enough to overhaul Hughes and Delaney and Barlow ended the season with a third.

Will Butler/Tom Wood finished the day just outside of the podium positions but the result was not indicative of their day. Butler didn’t set a time outside of the top three all event long aside from the fourth stage when he lost a chunk of time in his Peugeot 107.  Without the issue at the halfway point, he would have undoubtedly been chasing down his first Kick Energy victory but fourth would be the reward for his efforts.

Tom Williams/Rob Gillam took fifth in their Nissan Micra, finishing off a consistent year in the Juniors with James Hall/Simon Bradley just under a minute behind in sixth in their Citroen C1.  Ed Fossey/Ribi Wood suffered from an opening stage spin to seventh. Jersey resident Fossey will now graduate from the series and after several podiums throughout the year, will head into the forests to continue his career.

Robert Kennedy became the 2015 J1000 Senior Champion in his Nissan Micra after finishing 59th overall as Peter Bayliss elected to miss the final round.

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