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Stage Rallying returns to Brands Hatch

Monday, January 23 2012

Stage rallying returned to Brands Hatch for the second year in succession yesterday (Sunday 22 January), as the TRS (Essex) Ltd Brands Hatch Stage Rally opened the 2012 season in unique style.

Over 75 vehicles took part in the event, which was ultimately won by the Darrian T9 of Jeremy and Mark Straker, the second year running that a Darrian machine has claimed overall honours. The rally comprised of eight gruelling stages, including running on the rally areas used for retail driving experiences, sections of the paddock, the pit lane and the Brands Hatch Indy circuit itself, occasionally in reverse! The winning pair finished over a minute ahead of their nearest challengers Paul King and Alicia Miles in a Ford Escort RS, with Tom Roberts and Nicky Marriott driving a Mitsubishi Lancer to third place.

An enthusiastic crowd were also present despite the chilly weather, and were on hand to witness an eclectic field of machinery, ranging from Aston Martin Rally GT cars and a Ferrari 308 GTB to the more traditional Ford Escorts and Subaru Imprezas.

While not securing any outright stage wins, the Strakers showed showed superb consistency to claim the overall honours. The title of most stage wins went to last year's victor John Indri, this time partnered with Keith Hounslow driving a Darrian T90 Gtr. However their charge towards a second win came to an abrupt halt on the seventh stage after a puncture forced them to withdraw, having won five of the first six stages up to that point.

Brands Hatch Circuit Manager Mike Groves said: "Following last year's successful inaugural running of the Brands Hatch Stages Rally, we were keen to take the event to the next level for 2012.

"A lot of effort went into the organisation of this year's rally, with the addition of a further 10 miles of running for the competitors, meaning more action for the busy crowd of spectators as well as an extra challenge for the drivers.

"We were delighted that the event went as well as it did, and we're already thinking ahead to making the stages rally an even better event for 2013, as well as working with the club to improve spectator access for next year's event."

To view this year's race highlights calendar at Brands Hatch, click here.