LUDLOW Castle Motor Club's Alex Allingham finished top in his class at Saturday's Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally.

Allingham was competing alongside Chris Williams in his Subaru Imprezza N10 to finish first in the N4 class in a time of 43 minutes 35 seconds and fifth overall.

The Ludlow Advertiser reported last week that former champion Shaun Gardener hopes Allingham would hit top gear in the the rally which is one of the most popular events in the BTRDA calendar.

Joe Price, another member of Ludlow Castle Motor Club, finished second in the 2WD category.

However, it was disappointment for Ludlow driver Henri Grehan, who had to retire from the race due to a chronic misfire in their Escort during the third test.

Up until then, Grehan and co-driver Chris Ridge were all set to challenge the leaders and spent the first few stages of the day settling back into the car after four years away from the sport.

Organised by the Sixty and Worcestershire Motor Club, the rally has become famous for its smooth-flowing stages around Ludlow.

A record breaking 160 cars took took part in the event, which started at Ludlow Racecourse.

It took competitors surrounding Ludlow and Presteigne where they battled against the clock over some of the toughest terrains in the country.

The rally was won by Cumbrian driver Paul Bird in his Ford Forcus WRC.

Co-driven by Aled Davies, Bird took the lead from the very first stage of the day and after 44 miles of treacherous conditions, finished 27 seconds ahead of second placed Steve Perez.

Clerk of the course Pete Wood said it was great to see so many people watch the event.

"The rally has some amazing local support and I'd like to thank everyone for attending this year's rally," said Wood.

"The drivers commented on how big the crowds were, which provided a great atmosphere as they tackled the main spectator stage of the day.

"Everyone were have spoken to have really enjoyed the stages and the welcome they have received in Ludlow.

"I'd like to extend a huge thank you to everyone that made the event possible including the officials and marshals who lined the route.

"Thanks must also go to the event sponsor Event Signs and to supporters Hills Ford.

"We have a big challenge ahead of us to better this event next year, but we will certainly try."