Adrien Fourmaux added his name to a illustrious list of previous British Champions by driving a Ford Fiesta Rally2 to victory on the Trackrod Rally Yorkshire.
The former French Junior Champion has dominated the series, winning each of the five rounds he has contested, but was pushed all the way over the North York Moors stages by nearest challenger Garry Pearson, from the Scottish borders.
Duns driver Pearson, in a VW Polo GTI R5, was barely a second slower than the 28-year old from near Lille on the first night stage in Dalby Forest on Friday but fell eight seconds further adrift on each of the next two tests when the event recommenced in daylight on Saturday morning.
This enabled regular world Championship competitor Fourmaux to ease through the final two longest stages in Dalby and Langdale without any hiccups to take the rally and a title previously held by the likes of Britain’s two former World Champions Colin McRae and Richard Burns, plus flying Finns and also ex-global number ones Hannu Mikkola and Ari Vatanen.
Hamsterley car dealer Stephen Petch – a former Trackrod winner – claimed third place, as he continues to get to grips with a Skoda Fabia after many years of steering Ford Fiestas through the stages. The annual North York Moors spectacular, once again based in the coastal town of Filey, near Scarborough, formed the penultimate round of three of the UK’s major championships, including the heavily subscribed BTRDA (largely regarded as the British clubman’s championship) and the equally popular Historic series for cars from the sport’s classic era of the sixties, seventies and eighties.
Harrogate driver Elliot Payne, still only 20, snatched a five-second victory in the Trackrod Forest Stages Rally – a one-day section of the rally over a slightly shorter 45-competitive mile distance and only the five Saturday stages.
Payne’s Ford Fiesta dropped time to nearest rival and championship challenger Aaron Newby’s Skoda Fabia R5 over the last and longest 13.25-mile stage but the runner-up 12 months ago clung on to go one place higher on the podium this time around.
The Yorkshire youngster became the first driver for 20 years to win back to back BTRDA Gold Star Championships.
The Trackrod Historic Cup became a battle between ex-historic and three-times asphalt champion Jason Pritchard’s Escort and the similar late seventies vehicle driven by Ripon road surfacing contractor Matthew Robinson, who is recovering well from a serious illness which has curtailed his rallying exploits to just two this year.
Robinson, the 2014 BTRDA Gold Star Champion, took three seconds out of his Builth Wells rival through Langdale but still fell 5.3 seconds short of the Welshman.
A total of 124 of the 180 cars that started the rally crossed the finish line along Filey sea-front when 45h running of the rally in its various forms.