A dominant victory on Saturday’s round of the 2006 Mitsubishi Evo cup, the Swansea Bay Rally, has boosted young Stephen Petch Juniors confidence and has more than made up for the frustration encountered on the recent Jim Clark International.
After the problems on the Jim Clark International Stephen and Michael Wilkinson, his co-driver, had planned on easing into the event, but hanging dust hampered their progress and a half spin on the opening stage did not help matters either. Even so, Stephen was relatively happy with being 4th in Group N and 13th overall at the end of the first 2 stages. Happy with how the car was handling, Stephen was planning a big push over the next few stages.
Stephen then really upped his pace and set a string of blistering stage times over the remaining 4 stages, going fastest in Group N on all of them and setting a string of top 10 overall times to eventually bring his SG Petch Scalextric Mitsubishi Evo IX home in a brilliant 9th overall, 2nd in Group N and most importantly, 1st in the Mitsubishi Evo Cup.
Stephen was doubly happy about this result as he was going head to head with Julian Reynolds who, as last years winner of this rally, was running first on the road, with the advantage of not having dust hanging in the air. As Stephen competes against Julian in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship this has done a lot for his confidence.
A delighted Stephen said: “We‚Äôve known all along that we‚Äôve got the pace, but niggling problems have held us back. Hopefully this result has shown that we have what it takes to run at the front.”
Stephen and the rest of the team now begin preparing for round 3 of the 2006 Tescos 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, the Rally Isle of Man, which runs from 3rd to 5th August 2006.