RALLY driver Daniel Boardman defied treacherous conditions to achieve his first ever podium position at the weekend.

Daniel and his co-driver Alex Levick who together form the Boardman Motorsport team finished third in his class in the 205 Challenge in Newtown, mid-Wales on Sunday.

The finish was all the more impressive as Daniel, who was born in Darwen but moved to Preston to study at the university, is a rallying rookie and this was his first ever gravel or 'loose surface' rally.

The day was not without drama, however, for the novice pair.

The wet weather conditions made the surface extremely treacherous and only skilful handling by Daniel prevented the car following the fate of many other competitors who came off the road and rolled or crashed.

At one stage driving through thick forest, the brakes were binding and caught fire, so Daniel had to to lift the brake pedal with his left foot while negotiating 80mph muddy bends sided by huge mountain drops. Daniel said: "I thought our rally would be over at that point as there was smoke pouring into the car creating a huge distraction.

"Luckily our service crew met us at the end of the stage and were able to force the brakes back into position so we could carry on but it was a close call."

The crew pushed the car right to the limit, but on one occasion almost too far when the car had a very close shave with a gatepost.

"I was gritting my teeth and Daniel managed to regain control at the last second and we somehow squeezed past, otherwise it would have ended the rally!" said co-driver Alex.

This rally was the third event in the 205 Challenge, the largest one-make rally championship in the world.