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british historic rally championship

Higgins Triumphs with BHRC win in Argyll

Mark Higgins secured his second top score of the season on Saturday, by taking a hard-earned Fuchs Lubricants British Historic Rally Championship victory at the Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally [21/22 June].

Higgins and co-driver Carl Williamson hauled their mighty Triumph TR8 V8 through the narrow lanes of the Cowal Peninsula in western Scotland, to claim the win by almost two minutes from Seb Perez in the Porsche 911. Winning 14 out of the 18 stages, Higgins was almost unstoppable, storming to his second maximum points haul of the season and bringing the former British Rally champion right into the mix for the title race.

Despite a light entry from the BHRC contenders, the battle across the tight and technical closed-road event would be a fascinating prospect, as the championship's first visit to the Argyll Rally would level the playing field.

Two days of action, several stages under the cover of darkness and over 75 stage miles would test the BHRC contenders, and late withdrawals from Adrian Hetherington and Richard Hill would mean it was a three-horse race for the lead.

Two blasts around Dunoon town centre kicked off proceedings on Friday night and it would be a sensational showing from Daniel Mennell in his Ford Escort MKII, taking a four-second lead. Despite being his asphalt debut in Historic machinery, Mennell and co-driver Richard Wise stamped their mark on the time sheets with a confident showing.

Perez landed the short Tarsan Dam stage win which brought him to within two seconds of now joint leaders Mennell and Higgins. But as the night progressed, Higgins punched in a series of fastest times to head into day two out front by 35 seconds.

A battle for the runner-up spot was brewing between Mennell and Perez, who were just two seconds apart. Once the daylight of Saturday arrived, Higgins continued his form, but it was the Escort of Mennell who was showing its pace on the asphalt for the first time. Sadly, the Yorkshireman’s charge came to an end just before service, crashing heavily the Loch Fyne test.

With Higgins enjoying over a one-minute lead, all that was left was for him to cruise to the win over the final loop of stages, adding to his Manx Rally leg one win and scooping the FIA Category victory to boot.

Perez continued his impressive run of form to take second and the Category Two [cars registered between 1968 and 1975] honours and in doing so, moved into the lead of the championship, with a healthy gap to second-placed Richard Hill.

Outside of the top spots, the Category Three [cars registered between 1976 and 1981] battle unfolded between a trio of Ford Escort crews. Mike Simpson/Dale Gibbons took the early advantage after the town test on Friday but was forced to give way to David and Grace Pedley by the time crews headed into the overnight halt.

However, Simpson overhauled Pedley throughout Saturday, to take third overall and the Category Three victory, leaving Pedley second and Nick Kitching/Kevin Wilson to round out the finishers.

Steve Magson/Steve Bielby brought their rear-wheel-drive Astra to Scotland in a bid for Rally2 [non-Historic] honours. A misfire developed on the third stage which progressively got worse, eventually forcing them out for good despite working through the night to rectify the issue.

Round six takes crews onto the Military Ranges in Wales at the end of July, for the Tour of Epynt.

Provisional BHRC points after Round 5 – the Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally

  1. Seb Perez 131
  2. Richard Hill 105
  3. Adrian Hetherington 98
  4. Mark Higgins 97
  5. Rudi Lancaster 84

External Credits:

MCR Motorsport Media / British Historic Rally Championship/Images - Russ Otway 90Right


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