The Williams Rally Racing team of Mark Williams and Jeffy Secor scored their first top 10 Rally America finish with eighth place overall at New England Forest Rally, the team’s third US event.

The event, formerly known as the Maine Forest Rally, is known worldwide and hosted by rally legend John Buffum and eight times US Champion Paul Choiniere. Top ranked drivers from Australia, Ireland and Canada were on hand to do battle with the best from the United States on the unforgiving gravel roads of Northwestern Maine and New Hampshire.

Since moving across from European Rallycross and recruiting Jeffy Secor, Mark and the team have worked hard through testing and running rallies to adjust to the very different demands of stage rally. The team arrived in Maine on the back of their 3rd Overall finish at Black Bear Rally in Dorset, Ontario.

Known for its ultra-fast and rocky stages, “NEFR” is not for the faint of heart, and experienced teams know that putting a wheel only inches off line often results in a DNF. Starting 23rd on the road, Williams and Secor immediately set out to prove their mettle, setting the 16th fastest time on the first stage then recording the 10th fastest on the short second stage. This second stage, a “superspecial” took place in front of a large crowd and after an aggressive jump, Rally America proclaimed the team as the crowd favorites.

The team constantly moved their way up through the strong field and after Friday’s five stages the team were rewarded with a reseed start on Saturday of 14th, and despite a massive spin on the second stage Saturday the team continued to make time in their quest for a top-ten finish.

The final three stages were longer and more technical than the seven prior, and, from careful reconnaissance, expectations were that the rally could be won or lost here. The finish of stage eight found the Williams Rally Racing Subaru WRX sitting in tenth overall as attrition claimed the team of Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino.

Stage nine was the penultimate stage of the rally and a “turn-around” stage lined by a huge crowd of spectators, a “moment” occurred about ten miles in when the car slide wide but stopped three feet shy of a mini-van sized rock. At the end of the stage driver Williams discovered a deflating right rear tire, which the team changed with no penalty. In the final stage the team first past the retired car of L’Estage and past the sick car of Moro/Crouch then with three miles left encountered their own problems with a flat left rear tire. With no spare, and unwilling to surrender a single position the team raced out past hundreds of spectators earning their eigth place position as a just reward.

Rally Racing is a team sport and Mark and Jeffy would like to thank Iain and Phil of Planet Motorsport for their preparation and servicing and Beth for maintaining the crew!

For more information on Mark Williams Rally Racing, please visit: http://www.williamsrallyracing.com

Mark Williams Rally Racing would like to thank their 2008 partners:
DMS Output www.dstoutput.ca
Cleanairpass www.cleanairpass.com
Gary Numan www.numan.co.uk

And of course: Planet Motorsport www.planetmotorsport.com

For more information on the New England Forest Rally, please visit: http://www.newenglandforestrally.com/

Photo courtesy of Pete Kuncis www.onalimbracing.com

The next event for Williams Rally Racing will be Rally West Virginia, August 1st-2nd

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