County Durham businessman Steve Petch overcame a lack of testing and a slow start to bring his SG Petch Motorsport run Hyundai World Rally home 4th overall at the end of the recent Grizedale Stages, setting some blinding stage times along the way.
Although now classified as ‚Äòretired from rallying‚Äô Steve wheeled out one of the firms Hyundai Accent World Rally Cars for ‚Äòa bit of a play‚Äô as he joined son Stephen, who was driving the very same Mitsubishi Evo IX that David Higgins drove to a podium on the final round of the 2006 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship only one week earlier.
A cautious approach to the start of the rally saw Steve Senior go only 7 seconds quicker than his hard charging son through the opening stage but as he got back in the rhythm so his times improved, equalling the time set by Barry Johnson who was driving an ex Petter Solberg Subaru Impreza WRC through the second stage.
The afternoon stages saw Steve Petch senior find the groove and the former champion flew through the forests to set some top times, including being second fastest through the final stage to only eventual rally winner, and World Rally Championship star, Matt Wilson who was driving a 2006 Ford Focus WRC.
By contrast Stephen Junior struggled with setup problems in the morning and just when he had the car to his liking he began suffering from brake fade towards the end of the last two stages. Despite this, Stephen was more than happy with 4th in class and 8th overall. “I‚Äôm just so relieved to have got to the end. I‚Äôve been having a bit of bad luck lately and it was nice to go a whole event without any real dramas. The stages were really slippy but both Michael and I enjoyed ourselves out there. I have to say a special thanks to everyone at SGP Motorsport for re-prepping the car so quickly, as David Higgins was using it on Rally GB last weekend.”