Hughes wins Bulldog, Moore takes title.

22.10.2006: Hughes wins Bulldog, Moore takes title.

Fiesta SportingTrophy UK, round 8/8

Saturday 21st October

Chris Moore has won the first VK Vodka Kick backed Fiesta SportingTrophy UK championship - and the Fiesta ST road car and entry for Wales Rally GB that goes with it – after a thrilling season conclusion on the Bulldog Clubmans Rally based around Oswestry, an event won by Simon Hughes.

Moore was locked in a fierce title battle with rival George Thomas which was only decided on the final stage of the 45 mile event. Just one stage before Moore had thought his title chances were gone after an off, losing the 31 year-old fireman 10 seconds.

But it was the final stage where Moore’s luck held – and Thomas saw his luck run out. A difficult corner was to prove to be the 20 year-old student from Hereford’s undoing, and Moore saw his title rival stood at the side of the road as he continued his charge.

The Innovation Motorsports driver still had to take second place in the rally to ensure he took the title, and this he was to achieve by a mere 0.8 seconds from a hard-charging Kevin Davies.

Through this, the rally win was taken by Simon Hughes, who drove strongly throughout the day. Hughes has been quick all season, and also wins the Castrol Award for Stage Wins, with 16 fastest stages set over the year. Hughes was the first two wheel drive car home in the Clubmans Rally and headed four Fiesta STs finishing inside the top ten.

The day had started with neither of the title protagonists or the rally winner fastest out of the blocks. Halfords employee Tom Walster was half a second faster than Thomas to head the field at the end of the first outing. Walster also went on to set the fastest time on the final test, giving him the Castrol Hard Charger Award for the day.

The second stage saw Chris Moore to the fore, the Geordie going three seconds faster than Hughes to take the rally lead by just over a second heading into the mid-way service of the four stage event.

Stage three proved treacherous for Moore with his off taking him past a pile of logs and depositing him stalled in the middle of another stage. He was able to restart and get back on course, but given the closeness of the competition he thought his title chances were ruined.

That was until he saw George Thomas stood at the side of the road of the final stage just before a corner where Moore’s co-driver, Richard Edwards, had rolled two years previously. With Thomas now unable to score, Moore still had to get the points for second place to secure the title.

The final stage was Walster’s in terms of fastest time, but Moore did enough to keep the superb charge of Kevin Davies up the order at bay. Davies left the midway service in fifth place and made back 16 seconds on the opposition to finish in third.

Fourth spot was Walsters but fifth in the results was Barry Clark, the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team driver in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship contesting this event as a one-off. Clark was faster than winner Hughes on three of the four stages, but was off the pace on the second stage which dropped him down the order.

Sixth was taken by Adam Gould who also won the award for most improved driver during the course of the season. Every Fiesta ST save for that of Thomas made it home, a testament to the strength and reliability of the cars at the end of the first season of the highly popular championship which has already announced its calendar for 2007.

But at the end of the day Chris Moore had the most to celebrate. His championship prize haul includes a new Fiesta ST road car, an entry on Wales Rally GB thanks to Welsh Technium, the VK Prize Drive - a rally contested in the VK Vodka Kick Ford Focus RS WRC 05, an entry to The Apprentice shoot out for the chance to work at M-Sport and shakedown the WRC and S1600 cars and free entries to all ANCRO rounds next season.

Fiesta SportingTrophy UK competitors will next be seen out in action in Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB, on December 1-3 where they will be competing alongside drivers in the Fiesta SportingTrophy International.

 

Driver Quotes

Simon Hughes #73

It’s nice to show we can win rallies as well as win stages and that’s our second Fiesta win of the year. We went a bit steady on the first stage, probably too steady and dropped too much time from being cautious. On the second stage we pushed on more and it was good. It was very close going in to the afternoon and we pushed fairly hard.

Chris Moore #71

It’s fantastic to win and it hasn’t sunk in yet. We were full lightweight spec for this rally. No toolkit, no oil, no water, no food, we’ve never had so little in the car. On the first stage we lost some time as we tried going uphill with the handbrake on! I clicked the handbrake off and it was fine again but I was furious with myself. The second stage was fine although half way through we thought we weren’t going fast enough, but the times said otherwise.

On the third stage we went long at a corner blocked with logs and ended up stalled in the middle of another stage. Fortunately we got the car restarted, but I thought we’d lost it then. I couldn’t believe it when we saw George at the side of the road, it must have been so hard for him. Next stop now is Wales Rally GB, although I have to sort a car as mine’s already hired out!

Kevin Davies #72

It’s been tidy. The stages weren’t slippery, even where the looked like they might be and I thought I’d have to back off. Everything has been going well and I’ve enjoyed it. The second stage was quite rough and I wanted to go faster. In the afternoon we went from fifth to third, thank you very much! To make 16 seconds back was nice and tidy.

Tom Walster #84

There were no problems and we seem to have been keeping the pace on all of the stages apart from the third one. We dropped a load of time there and I’m not sure why exactly. On the last stage we were in it and went in the ditch a couple of times, once in front of my fan club with their ‘Tommi’ banner! I really wanted to help George Thomas in his title bid but fair play to Chris Moore, he’s done a great job all year.

Barry Clark #75

I was struggling with the notes, it’s been so long since I used organisers notes rather than my own or since I did a rally without a recce. Because of that I was over-driving in the morning, getting the car sideways and cooking the brakes. The afternoon was much better and we were second fastest both times. This was just a one-off for me in the FST UK and its definitely a different mindset.

Adam Gould #88

The first stage was pretty crap for us, we just couldn’t get a rhythm. The second stage was a lot better until we nearly lost it when we came in to a left hander 30 mph too fast. It was a real heart-thumper, but not so bad for me as it was on the co-driver’s side! It was good to get to the end with the car in one piece although I think I should have gone better on this one.

George Thomas #70

The first stage felt fine then the second one was quite rough. It felt like the car wasn’t pulling properly, but maybe I was changing up too early. I was slightly on the back foot but I put in a good fight for it in the afternoon. It was a silly mistake when we went off and we would have won the rally otherwise. I’m gutted.

 

- Fiesta SportingTrophy, Stella Boyles -

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22.10.2006 / MaP

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