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Rally stars are on form in Cumbria
BARROWFORD’S Daniel Barritt helped Alastair Fisher to eighth place in the Pirelli International Rally at the weekend – with Clitheroe’s Russ Thompson finishing second in the Challenge Rally.
Barritt co-drives for promising young Northern Irish driver Fisher on the World Rally Championship’s Academy Tour and the duo got their year off to a superb start with victory in the Rally de Portugal at the end of March.
The pair teamed up again for the Pirelli International Rally in Carlisle, which started in the city centre on Friday before two challenging stages in the Kershope Forest.
Finnish stars Jarkko and Petri Nikara were fastest out of the blocks and by the end of the first day they led the rally, with Fisher and Barritt in fourth position in their Ford Fiesta R2.
But the duo slipped back to eighth on the second day – three and a half minutes behind winners Keith Cronin and Marshall Clarke, who pipped the Nikaras to victory.
In the Pirelli Challenge Rally, the main support event, Thompson and co-driver Andy Murphy were third early on in their Renault Clio behind Simon Moore and Emma Morrison, as well as Richard Sykes and Simon Taylor.
Withnell co-driver Paula Swinscoe was forced out of the event early on with driver Damien Smith because of mechanical problems with their Honda Civic.
The duo had previously finished third in the Bulldog Challenge Rally, also part of the NGK Spark Plus BRC Challenge series.
Sykes and Taylor also had to retire in Cumbria at the weekend following elec-trical issues and Thomp-son finished the rally in second, 45 seconds behind Moore and Morrison.
The Pirelli Historic Rally proved a big hit with the vast majority of the com-peting crews thanks to the fast and flowing Kielder stages.
Whalley brothers Mark and Ed Bentley, who embarked on the trip of a lifetime to take part in the East African Safari Classic Rally at the end of last year, took 10th place in category three in their Ford Escort Mk2.
Oswaldtwistle’s Phil Peak was co-driving for James Slaughter, also in a Ford Escort Mk2, and the pair finished in 14th position in category three.
Co-driver Lee Carter had to retire along with Ian Rix after the fourth stage in a Ford Escort RS1600, in a rally that was won by Nick Elliott and Dave Price.
David Wallbank took part in the Pirelli Tour of Cumbria Rally 2 along with co-driver Mike Scrimgour in a Ford Escort, but car issues forced them out after only three stages.
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