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18-year-old Ed Fossey claimed a hard fought podium on the Woodpecker Rally last weekend (2 September). After the championship summer break, the Jerseyman returned to rallying action in fine form as he claimed 51st overall and more importantly third place in class to continue his lead at the summit of the Thomas Panels BTRDA 1400 Championship heading into the season showdown.

On Ed’s previous event – the Nicky Grist Stages, the Bournemouth University student struggled in the heat and dust of the Welsh event in his Vauxhall Corsa. Despite learning a new car, the teenager still managed to record a solid fifth to keep his title aspirations burning bright. With the usual Toyota Yaris back from its mid season development, the Yokohama-backed driver was eager to return to the rostrum in the Japanese machine – this time on the Woodpecker Rally based in Ludlow, Shropshire.

Six-gruelling, dusty stages faced the Next Big Step star and Blackpool-based co-driver Chris Sharpe-Simkiss with the pair following in the wheel tracks of top runners from the British Rally Championship and BTRDA series at the front of the field.

The opening stage saw Ed accustom himself with the Toyota once again and gained 17 places from his 87th position on the 140-car entry list. Resolving initial set-up issues on the first few stages, the Channel Islander nestled himself into fifth on the class leaderboard and went into the afternoon loop determined to claw his way up the leaderboard and onto the class podium.

With a gap infront and behind, Ed kept a sensible head and set about bringing the Yaris home. The saying ‘anything can happen in rallying’ was certainly true for Fossey, as two of his class rivals struggled on the final stage, allowing Fossey to pass them and to claim his third podium of the season to strengthen his grip on the championship ahead of the season finale.

“It was a difficult weekend for us but actually a positive one in the grand schemes of things,” explained Fossey. “ The first four stages we struggled with the right set-up and lost too much time and to sit fifth in class was a little disappointing. On the final two stages however it all clicked, we set some really good times and the Yokohama tyres were perfect and to take third on the final stage was very rewarding. To be back in the Yaris was like coming home, I have a lot of confidence, as it is easy to jump in and drive.”

Ahead of the final round, Ed has his plan all mapped out.

“It’s gong to be tough with the dropped scores we sit a few points behind the leader. I really enjoyed the Trackrod last year, infact it’s my favourite event I have done. I am going to take it stage by stage and go for a strong result and not risk making a mistake. The championship will sort itself out.” With six rounds gone, it will all come down to the season finale on the Trackrod Forest Stages on the 30 September. The BTRDA Rally Championship curtain call will provide the young-gun with his toughest challenge yet as he fights for a British national rallying title on the gravel stages of Yorkshire.”

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

Photo Credits: James Ward – Chicane Media

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