Last weekend saw the latest round of the Hankook MSA Welsh Championship take place with the Severn Valley National Rally and saw Dave Howells from Manchester and Kent co driver Jules Wilkinson claim an impressive fourth place overall.

Starting from Builth Wells in glorious sunshine, a full day of action in some of the best forests in the world awaited the crews and the pair started the event as current leaders of the Welsh Championship meaning they were keen to keep that lead intact.

The Wiseman Dairies-liveried Subaru Impreza ‘Cow Car’ was in fine form and ready for the fight at the front of the field. Three stages lay ahead before morning service and the TEG Sport-prepared Subaru ‘mooo-ved’ right to the front of the field recording second fastest through the opening stage of the day, Crychan South. Wales Rally GB favourites, Halfway and Crychan North, were next and the crew found themselves fourth overall at first service where only routine maintenance and new tyres were required.

The sunshine was at its strongest as the Wiseman Dairies crew headed out for the afternoon loop of stages with Gwibedog being the first to be tackled. Howells and Wilkinson attacked the stage with a consistent smooth approach and set fourth fastest with no problems apart from hanging dust due to the dry weather and no wind. The same approach brought another fourth fastest on the second run through Halfway with only a handful of seconds separating the front-runners.

However drama lay ahead for the crew as midway through the last stage the turbo caught fire and smoke was visible coming from the bonnet vents meaning upon arrival at the stage finish, Howells and Wilkinson jumped out with the fire extinguisher to tackle a small fire in the engine bay. Once the fire was out, the crew noticed a small crack in the turbo oil pipe which was spraying onto the manifold and hot engine bay. Emergency repairs prevailed and with a little help, the crew made it to the finish control with minutes to spare!

Back at Builth Wells David said: “A good day on the whole for us, I’m relieved to get to the finish given the problems with the turbo on the last stage, it was quite a tense drive back for sure. We set out to have a go and I think we did that and I’m delighted with fourth overall and first in class but I’m also pleased to score second highest points in the Welsh Championship which is enough for me to maintain my lead. It was a tough day so I’m very pleased, not only for me but for our sponsors, service crew and whole team.”

Regular Wiseman Dairies BRC co-driver Jules said: “I’m over the ‘Moooo-n’, it was hard going as the stages were demanding and the hot weather and dust made things that bit more difficult. Dave has driven a good rally and apart from the turbo drama on the last stage, the car hasn’t missed a beat. The pace at the front was quick from the word go so we had to work hard, but the important thing was to score as many championship points as we could and to leave with our lead intact, which we did. As always I would like to thank Wiseman Dairies, TEG Sport and Gilletts Spar for their continued support.”

Results
1 Wug Utting/Max Utting Subaru Impreza N12 0:45:50.0
2 Bob Ceen/Andy Bull Subaru Impreza WRC 0:45:54.1
3 Alex Allingham/Mark Glennerster Subaru Impreza 0:45:56.4
4 David Howells/Julian Wilkinson Subaru Impreza 0:46:09.4
5 Tom Cave/Craig Parry Subaru Impreza 0:46:43.4
6 Sara Williams/Patrick Walsh Subaru Impreza 0:46:56.9

Image attached courtesy of Paul Mitchell.

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