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Last weekend kick-started the 2020 BTRDA rally championship as over 100 crews headed to Llandudno for the Cambrian Rally. Scott and the team at SF Rallying returned to the forests in a bid to retain the Production Cup – secured back in September when the team took the narrowest of victories over rivals Pat Naylor and Ian Lawrence on the final round of the year, the Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire.

The new year brings some new and exciting changes for the Midlands-based team, the most noticeable being in the form of new co-driver Steve Link from Clifton-Upon-Teme, Worcestershire. Steve brings with him a wealth of British rally experience having competed previously in the Citroen and Suzuki one-make series in the British Rally Championship. For 2020 the pair will return to pilot the trusty C1-R Motorsport prepared Mitsubishi Evo 9. The SFRallying team are extremely grateful to have support yet again from Tony Robinson and the Professional Motorsport World Expo, who will be backing the team for the full year.

During the winter break the car has received a complete refresh including a new paint job from partners R3 Race and Rally Repairs headed up by Mark Gamble.

Once the paint had dried, the new colour scheme was added by Lively Race Graphics and the car was set for the season ahead.

After a successful pre-event test, the newly formed pairing were eager to get out on the Cambrian Rally. The event takes in stages previously used on the world rally championship, Penmachno, Elsi and Gwydyr. The challenge was set. Scott and Steve shot out the blocks in stage one, setting a fifth fastest time over-all placing them right in the thick of the competition. During stage two however, the pair picked up a rear puncture and limped through, dropping vital seconds to nearest rivals George Lepley and Tom Woodburn who snatched fifth in their similar but more powerful B13 Mitsubishi.

“I’m not sure where the speed came from this morning” reported a surprised Faulkner. “The car feels great, the set-up is just right for these conditions and the Pirelli tyres are working really well. We’re into the long one now, lets see where we are after this one”.

As the crews headed into the 12 miles of Penmachno, the longest stage of the event, it would become apparent that a cautious approach would be key. Scott and

Steve lost count as they passed numerous cars off the road in the first few corners of the stage. Then however, Scott noticed that something wasn’t right at the rear of the car and concluded that they had yet another puncture! With nearly 10 miles remaining, there was no choice but to stop and change the wheel mid-stage. After rejoining and being held up by another car through the remainder of the stage, the crew would lose over four minutes and drop way down the order to 30th over-all.

Knowing that a rally isn’t over until the final control Scott and Steve pushed hard on the remaining four stages, returning to form setting times within the top six, proving what might have been if luck had been on their side.

“It’s a real shame, we showed great pace this morning” concluded a disappointed Faulkner at the finish ramp. “I expected Steve and I to take a little time to get used to one another, but we clicked straight away and our times all day have shown what we’re capable of.”

Scott and the team will return to action on next month’s Malcolm Wilson Rally based in Cockermouth, Cumbria where they hope to return to form in the BTRDA.

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