Pritchard claims consecutive Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship titles

Pritchard claims consecutive Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship titles

09 Oct

By Tom Boote

Co-driven by Phil Clarke, Pritchard finished third in the event in the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally but with Cole missing out on victory by just three seconds and finishing second, it was enough to give the Builth Wells driver the title for a second consecutive year.
In a thrilling finish to an exciting final round, Alan Kirkaldy and co-driver Cameron Fair took their first Asphalt Rally Championship victory. The R5 class champions were on the pace from the start and ended the first loop of stages level on time with six-time champion Cole. The second loop of stages proved decisive as Kirkaldy and Fair opened up an eleven second lead after stage nine.
With the last two loops consisting of two stages run in the opposite direction to the earlier ones, they managed to hold on for the win with a sensible run over the final loop and finish a mere three seconds faster than Cole.

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Cole held the Championship lead coming into the final round but with the dropped scores from two events to consider, there was still the possibility of Cole and Pritchard being level on points at the end of the day! If this was the case, whoever was faster of the two on the first stage would win the Championship. Cole and local co-driver, Andrew Roughead, were two seconds quicker than rival Pritchard on SS1 and level with Kirkaldy after four stages.
Despite dropping some time on the next loop, Cole was never far behind but when his Fiesta’s gearbox developed problems, it meant he couldn’t use second gear. He entered the last loop of stages ten seconds behind and gave it his all closing to within three seconds of the lead at the finish. Unfortunately, it was those three seconds that denied him a seventh National Asphalt Rally Championship title.

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After suffering with a down on power engine on the previous round, Pritchard’s Ford Focus WRC was suffering with an intermittent misfire, with the car reluctant to restart at one of the petrol halts. Despite these issues, Pritchard moved back up to third position, which he maintained to the finish, where they discovered they had retained their Protyre Motorsport UK Championship by just one point from Cole.

2019 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship

Final championship driver standings

Position Driver Points
1 Jason Pritchard 145
2 Damian Cole 144
3 John Stone 136
4 Alan Kirkaldy 136
5 Darren Atkinson 121
6 Chris Ford 105
7 Rhiadian Daniels 102
8 Wayne Sisson 95
9 John Devlin 91
10 Mike Pugsley 83

The Championship’s television crew broadcast stage-side action and driver interviews live from the event. All the footage from the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally will remain available to view on the Special Stage Facebook page with commentary by Howard Davies and Gemma Watson.

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