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Jerseyman Ed Fossey continued his fine form in the BTRDA Rally Championship on the Plains Rally last weekend – the third round of gravel rally series. The Yokohama-backed star finished a fine 60th out of 120 competitors, but more importantly the Toyota Yaris driver continues to lead the Thomas Panels 1400S championship after securing his second podium in a row – notching-up third in class on the Welsh gravel.

On the previous round, the Somerset Stages Fossey clinched his first class victory, elevating him to the summit of the 1400S class. The target on the latest round for the Bournemouth University student was to gain an important finish on the tough event and take home a good haul of points towards his championship hopes.

The Plains Rally, based in Welshpool would see Ed and his rivals tackle eight stages through the legendary Dyfi and Gartheiniog courses which are regular tests on Wales Rally GB, Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Starting at Car 73, the Next Big Step driver was eager to learn the classic stages and move forward on the results sheet in his striking 1.4 litre Toyota Yaris.

On the opening test the 18-year-old struggled by his usually high standards as he found it difficult to read the grip on the damp but drying roads. By stage two Ed was more comfortable behind the wheel of the Toyota and took third posistion in class with Blackpool-based co-driver Chris Sharpe-Simkiss expertly guiding Fossey through the gravel forestry tracks.

With Ed’s confidence growing with every stage mile, he began to chip away at the overall leaderboard with the Yokohama supported driver claiming 60th on the leaderboard at the end of the final stage – a solid afternoons work, putting many more experienced drivers and more powerful cars behind him.

At the Ceremonial Finish, Fossey was delighted to take third in class and continue to lead the way in the competitive 1400S class.

“I am really pleased to have continued our podium run, but actually I have to admit that I struggled early on and didn’t feel comfortable at the start.” Explained Fossey.

“Confidence grew and we put a good gap behind us but with the time loss in the morning we sadly weren’t going to catch the frontrunners. The conditions were a real learning curve as the first few stages looked dry but had a layer of grease on the top and felt I couldn’t commit on the fast stuff. As the event went on I learnt a great deal and felt more at one with the car, which meant we set some good times. To still lead the championship is very important – even after a difficult weekend.

“I am really looking forward to the Carlisle Stages next up. Kielder offers some real tough tests and something I am looking forward to sampling. The stages have a lot of history and I can’t wait to drive them for the first time and this event will really help my learning experience. I would love another podium but points always has to be the target on such a tough event.”

The next round of the BTRDA Rally Championship will see Ed Fossey and his rivals travel north to Carlisle in Cumbria for the Carlisle Stages Rally on 10 June. The punishing Kielder Forests with fast and flowing stages await. Fossey will hope to make it a hat-trick of podiums and stretch his championship lead on round four next time out.

2017 BTRDA Calendar

Round 1 – 11 March – Malcolm Wilson Rally – Lake District, Cockermouth
Round 2 – 8 April – Somerset Stages – Minehead, West Somerset
Round 3 – 13 May – Plains Rally – Welshpool, Montgomeryshire
Round 4 – 10 June – Carlisle Stages Rally – Kielder, Carlisle
Round 5 – 8 July – Nicky Grist Stages – Builth Wells, Powys
Round 6 – 2 September – Woodpecker Stages – Ludlow, Shropshire
Round 7 – 30 September – Trackrod Stages – Pickering, North Yorkshire

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