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George Morrison suffered a cruel blow to the start of his Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series campaign when he was forced to retire his MG ZR on the opening stage of last weekend’s Somerset Stages Rally.

The Cottesmore driver headed to the Minehead based event to open his assault on the 1400C class, MGZR Challenge and Army Stage Rally Championship but his event was over before it really began, retiring after the very first test when a driveshaft snapped on the MG.

The HM Forces Mechanic is joined once again this season by co-driver Jon Quintrell and the event was the scene of Quintrell’s first ever rally back in 2016. Some 12 months on, the duo returned to kick start their season and were hoping to secure a decent points haul to get their campaign off to the perfect start.

Having finished an impressive second in the mixed surface BTRDA Challenge last season, Morrison is no stranger to both asphalt and gravel and the Somerset Stages is one event in the calendar which incorporates both surfaces.  Morrison was looking forward to the 14 stage rally and getting stuck into the Porlock Toll Road stage which splits the event at the halfway point.

But any hopes of a podium were dashed on the very first stage when the MG snapped a driveshaft in the Knowle test and with five more stages to contest; Morrison was forced to retire on the road section to the next stage.

“I was changing down a gear into a hairpin and as I selected second and released the clutch I heard a loud bang” explained Morrison. “I instantly knew that the driveshaft had snapped and backed right off as it really could have caused some serious damage if we continued”.

Morrison nursed the car to the end of the stage but without the opportunity to change the offending item, was forced to pull up.

“It made it even more frustrating that we recorded fourth fastest 1400C and 63rd overall from 95 starters even with one wheel drive.  If we had continued like that for the rest of the day I’d say we were on for a good result but I guess that’s rallying and we have to concentrate on the next event now and make sure we bag some points”.

The Plains Rally forms round three of the series and takes place in Welshpool during May.

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