HRCR Championship front runner Steve Entwistle consolidated his lead in the series after his best result of the year.

Entwistle, from Rishton, and his Cumbrian-based navigator Bob Hargreaves won their class and finished fourth overall on the Ross Traders.

That was enough to see the Mini man take a 28-point lead in the overall drivers standings and extended their lead in the hotly-contested historic class.

“It was just the result we were looking for – and needed,” explained Entwistle.

“We have thrown away points this year needlessly, but this time everything went to plan.

“The tests suited my driving, Bob’s navigation was spot-on and the car didn’t miss a beat.”

Torrential rain and thunderstorms made the South Wales-based rally a test of endurance for cars, crews and officials alike.

But the conditions played into the hands of the Orangebox team, especially on the tests.

“The first two tests were based in Speech House, in the Forest of Dean, and are famous RAC Rally stages,” Entwistle said.

“With a bogey time of seven minutes, they were more like stages than tests too.

“But the heavy rain actually gave the Orangebox Mini more grip in the front wheels, which meant we could go quicker than the Escorts and Porsches.”

In the top three on test times throughout the day, the pair matched that performance on the regularities, depsite much more experienced opposition.

After a sucession of long cross-country trips to Kent, East Anglia and South Wales, Entwistle and Hargreaves are on relative home territory for the next round, the St Wilfrid’s Classic, based in Thirsk, on August 3.

Another top performance would see the Mini Sport of Padiham-sponsored pairing firmly in the driving seat of the HRCR Clubmans Championship as it heads for the home straight.