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Fraser Anderson once again demonstrated his incredible speed behind the wheel of his Baxter and Gillespie-backed Ford Fiesta R2T when he opened up an impressive 48.7 second lead in the British Rally Championship Academy Trophy, but the Helensburgh teenager was denied a superb class victory on the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire (24-25 September) after he rolled out of the event on the penultimate stage.

Having never rallied in the dark before, Fraser made a brilliant start on the event’s opening Friday night stage through Dalby forest, setting a time 25.3 seconds faster than BRC Academy rival Johnnie Mulholland.

What is more remarkable is that Fraser could have been even faster, had he not overshot a few junctions and had a brief visit to a ditch. Fraser calculated that he had lost at least 10-15 seconds on the most significant overshoot, having to take to the escape road and reverse back onto the 11 mile stage, yet he was leading his class after SS1 and ahead of several vastly more experienced Junior BRC drivers in superior machinery.

With their pace notes working well, Fraser and co-driver Jack Bowen were looking forward to the remaining five daylight stages when the event restarted on Saturday morning.

They continued their great pace and were the fastest BRC Academy crew by 5.6 seconds through Cropton (SS2), 7.5 seconds faster through Gale Rigg (SS3) and 10.3 seconds faster through Staindale (SS4) to extend their category lead to 48.7 seconds at mid-day service in Filey, on the North Yorkshire coast.

Unfortunately, at a tight hairpin left corner on the next Langdale test (SS5), the car dug in and at slow speed rolled and came to a rest beached on a small bank. Having lost so much time getting the car free, and with a broken windscreen and side windows, they were forced to stop with one stage remaining.

“I’m absolutely devastated to make what was in all honesty a pretty silly mistake,” admitted Fraser.

“We came into the hairpin at just the right speed, but we clipped the inside banking slightly with the front left wheel which caused the car to lift. Once the tyres on the right gained traction I knew that we were going over and we just tipped over onto our roof. With how narrow the road was there was no way for us to be rolled over quickly so I knew that it was over. It was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had in my motorsport career and I was experiencing it upside down!

“I want to express my gratitude to the marshals that helped us out of the car and made sure we were both all okay, as without the orange army our sport would not be possible.

“There are still some huge positives that we can take away from the event as we were leading the BRC Academy, sitting first in R2 and we were setting some competitive times against the more powerful Rally4 cars on what must be some of the most power intensive stages you can find in the UK.

“I’m just incredibly disappointed that I couldn’t seal the victory to give my loyal sponsors and the ME Rallysport team the result they deserved after all of the support they have provided me with, as well as the consistent hard work that is put in to ensure that the car is ready for each round.”

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