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Barnsley rally driver David White was overjoyed to take 13th overall, 11th BRC crew and the BRC4 class honours at last weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages, round five of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship.

Fresh from a maximum points haul at the Ypres Rally in Belgium just a fortnight previously, White along with co-driver son Mathew, once again topped the category in a solid performance during the gruelling two-day mixed surface event in Wales.

Despite class rival Gee Atherton’s absence from the event, the infamous route would be a challenge in itself as the rally offered both a gravel and asphalt loop for the BRC contenders. Over 44 miles of forest rallying in classic Welsh stages opened proceedings on Saturday, before the shift to the all-asphalt Military roads the following day.

Piloting the Mirage Vape Stores backed Ford Fiesta R2 this season, White is no stranger to a sealed surfacing, becoming a two-time Asphalt Champion at the wheel of his Subaru Impreza. By his own admission, he has found the gravel rounds of the championship a tough prospect but the challenge of a dual surface event excited the father and son team heading into the weekend.

First up, 44 miles of forestry and whilst it wasn’t Whites preferred surface, he had admitted to “fall in love with gravel rallying again” after the opening loop of the day. The time sheets echoed that sentiment and despite a loose engine mount and binding rear caliper, White stayed out of trouble over the remaining stages to end the leg in 19th overall.

Whilst he has never contested the gravel stages around Epynt before, White had enjoyed the closed Military roads on previous events and was looking forward to Sunday’s stages.

Still settling into the Fiesta R2 White built the pace gradually during the day and as his confidence grew, the times tumbled. Nudging a bale on a tight chicane was the only issue to report in the first six stages of the day.

With other far more experienced crews around him failing to finish, White kept his cool over the remaining stages to emerge from the final test in 13th overall and taking maximum points in the process.

However, drama struck on the run back to the finish when the clutch release bearing succumbed to the heat of the day and failed during the road section. White was able to coax the Fiesta back to the finish to spray the champagne in Builth Wells.

“It’s been a pretty much perfect event from start to finish and I`ve loved every second of it, even the gravel,” said White at the finish.

“I’ll be honest with you I was a bit dubious about Saturday’s forestry stages but once we got going everything flowed really well. Trusting my notes helped and Mat was great too which gave me that extra confidence to up my pace in the woods”.

White was also pleased with his asphalt progress.

“I think every time you head to Epynt it looks different so we couldn’t be complacent in there. It’s been great to really feel at home in the car and on the stages though and everything just came together. It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to make it to the finish and the podium on one of the toughest events this year”.

The British Rally Championship has a five-week break before heading to Northern Ireland for the Ulster Rally in August.

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.

Image courtesy of Jakob Ebrey Photography.

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