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Fun in the Sun for champions
Russ Thompson and Andy Murphy are the 2013 BRC Challenge champions after a top-class drive on the Rallye Sunseeker.
A second place finish on the Dorest-based event was enough for the Thompson, from Clitheroe and Murphy to be crowned, as their title rivals were unable to match their pace on the season finale.
After taking part in Friday evening’s ceremonial start proceedings in front of a healthy crowd, the competitive action got away from service on Saturday morning.
First through, championship leaders Thompson and Murphy rattled through in a steady time of 3mins 11secs, looking to take no risks on roads that were slippery following heavy overnight rain.
As the action moved on to day’s second test, Ringwood West, Thompson was again the pace setter, his time of 7mins 31.9secs enough to extend the lead to nearly three seconds.
Through stage four, Thompson limited the advantage of their rivals and were able to build to just a 1.9 second lead, before stealing a near seven second advantage of their own through stage five.
With only three stages to complete after the afternoon service halt, Thompson and Murphy had one hand outstretched towards the champions champagne, knowing a trouble free run would see them crowned NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge kings.
On the relatively short Uddens White Sheet however, disaster nearly struck a knockout blow to these aspirations.
Approaching the first turn of the stage, a 90 degree right hander, Thompson clipped a bump on the apex of the corner which spat the car across the road. With momentum now in charge of the car, the crew were thankful for two huge strokes of luck that allowed them to continue.
The first, that the opposite side of the road was merely a soft bank rather than a ditch and the second that they missed a tree a matter of inches from where the car went off. After such an extraordinarily near miss, discretion became the better part of valour for the likeable crew and they undertook a cruise to the finish.
This was no potter to the end though, with both stage times being fast enough to rank in the top three. A worthy performance from a worthy champion.
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