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Simpson secures famous French victory
9:20am Thursday 20th March 2014 in Sport
SKODA pilot Neil Simpson has picked up his second trophy in a row after a stunning performance on the Rallye Le Touquet.
The Colne businessman won his class after finishing seventh overall in his Simpsons Skoda Fabia S2000.
But Simpson, who claimed second overall on the North West Stages in February, didn’t have an easy run.
Driving in his first pace notes rally in 12 years, Simpson and co-driver Claire Mole ended the opening stage in 36th place.
“It was the first time in 12 years that I’d driven on pace notes, and I made a bit of a mess of the opening stage.
“But once I’d given myself a good talking to, I quickly got back into the swing of things,” he said.
However, the pair soon got back into the swing of things to quickly move up the leaderboard.
He added: “The short ratio gearbox meant that our main Super 2000 rival, Romain Martel, was about 10mph faster than us down the straights.
“But the car is so good on the twisty sections that we were able to make up any time we had lost. It’s another great result which we are all very proud of. We’ve only done two rallies in the car, so we feel there is a lot more to come.”
After a trouble-free first day, Simpson had moved up to 15th after the opening seven stages.
He continued to impress on day two and after another seven stages he crossed the finish line of the final stage along the Le Touquet seafront to complete the 126 miles (204kms) route in seventh spot overall.
That was enough to secure a Super 2000 class victory by 1 minute 15.7 seconds ahead of Romain Martel/Vanessa Lemoine (Peugeot 207 S2000).
“I’ve always wanted to do Rallye Le Touquet and it didn’t disappoint, it was brilliant,” added Simpson.
“The Skoda Fabia never missed a beat, the team worked extremely well and Claire did a great job in the co-driver’s seat. The Pirelli tyres were excellent and everything was just about perfect.”
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