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Barnsley rally driver David White finished the toughest rally of his career last weekend as he brought his Mirage Vape Stores backed Ford Fiesta home with maximum points in the BRC 4 class of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship at the Ypres Rally.

Despite spending over 20 minutes in one of the infamous Belgian ditches on the opening leg of the event, White and co-driver son Mathew took their R2 spec Fiesta over the finish ramp in Ypres on Saturday night to score their second finish of the season.

The Ypres Rally played host to a guest round of the BRC in Belgium and would attract top-class names, all aiming to tame the tricky closed public roads in the region. In an event which saw the world’s best drivers being caught out by the notorious route, White would also endure a nerve-racking week which began even before the rally started.

White has only managed to score points in one round of the BRC so far this season and after electing to miss the RSAC Scottish Rally last month, was making a welcome return to the series as it made its shift onto asphalt. As a two-time Group N National Asphalt champion, White was undoubtedly more at home on a sealed surface and was looking forward to the overseas event.

However, just hours after tackling the pre-event shakedown the Fiesta developed an issue with its transmission and the team would have to rebuild the gearbox in record time if White was to make the start. They duly delivered and he headed out to tackle the eight stages on Friday night.

White opened proceedings with a string of impressive stage times as he continued to settle into the Fiesta on asphalt. Disaster struck on stage five however when White was caught out by a gravel-lined tight left hander and slid wide into a seven-foot ditch. Thanks to the huge efforts of the spectators, White was extracted and despite a huge chunk of time loss, was still in the rally.

The second day contained the bulk of the 260km of special stages and 12 stages lay ahead for the crews lucky enough to still be in the event. Sadly White’s time penalties shoved him down the leaderboard but he was still on course to take maximum BRC4 points.

A mature drive over the closing stages of the event ensured White remained on course for a solid finish. Once again, the transmission gremlins reared their head and on the very last stage of the 20 test event, White’s Fiesta stuck in fifth gear. He nursed it out of the stage and across the ceremonial finish ramp in Ypres town on Saturday night to bag an emotional finish.

“This has been one of the hardest events I have ever done but at the same time one of the most enjoyable,” said White at the finish.

“We have had everything thrown at us this weekend but we managed to overcome them all. Full credit to the team for getting us to the end and of course Mathew who was fantastic on the notes. This was his first overseas event too which is even more impressive. I have to say a huge thank you to all the spectators who got us out the ditch on Friday. We certainly would not be here without them”.

“It’s good to get some more points on the board for our championship, although it’s a shame rival Gee Atherton could not make it to Belgium. I think it would have been a great fight for BRC4 honours. But I`ll take the points anyway!”

The next round of the series heads to Wales for the Nicky Grist Stages in July which sees a mixed gravel and asphalt format for the event in Builth Wells.

White is running under the Two 4 Motorsport banner and is backed by Mirage E Cigarettes, F & G Commercials, DAF, Whites Bakery, Speedline Wheels and Pirelli.

You can follow the team on social media via Facebook and Twitter.

Images courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography

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