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Fine weather ensured fast action on Exmoor for the Somerset Stages Rally, as 95 crews left the start in Minehead. Stephen Petch & Michael Wilkinson (Fiesta WRC) were fastest on the opening stage and with a further 3 fastest stage times in the first 6 stages, they held a 6 second lead over Callum Black & Elliott Edmondson (Fiesta R5+). The crews then moved to the sealed surface and the two runs up the Porlock toll road saw Black claw back the 6 seconds to draw level before the final loop of gravel stages to come. Petch was fastest on the first four stages (of six) and importantly Black dropped the best part of 20 seconds on Chargot 3.

Two fastest stage times on the final two stages saw Black cut 9 seconds out of Petch’s lead but the damage had been done and Petch took victory by 11 seconds. Connor McCloskey & John Rowan (Fiesta WRC) took third overall after their main battle with Luke Francis & John Roberts (Evo IX) expired on the 2nd run through Knowle. First 2WD crew home and 12th overall were David Bennett & Alistair McNeil (Corsa) humbling more powerful and rear wheel drive crews. Their winning margin was 46 seconds from Ashley Davies & Sam Fordham (Escort MkII) with Rob Dennis & Andrew Boswell (Escort MkII) just two seconds further back, 3rd in 2WD.

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