Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting LU NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Gardener and Innes still in top spot after Ludlow's Woodpecker Stages
2:30pm Wednesday 5th September 2012 in Sport
SHAUN Gardener and Ben Innes remain top of the REIS – Get Connected BTRDA Rally Series after finishing third in the Woodpecker Stages at Ludlow.
The Ludlow Castle Motor Club duo won their class and will be aiming to seal the crown in the final event - the Cambrian Rally - in October.
“Unfortunately, the Forestry Commission had re-graded almost the whole of Haye Park,” said co-driver Innes from Cleobury Mortimer, “And what we expected to be our trump card stage, turned out to be a nightmare. We couldn’t find any grip on the loose stone.
“We failed to find our rhythm and this continued throughout the day as we then spun within sight of the flying finish in Radnor and we had to do a three-point turn.
“With two stages to go, we were in fourth but with an 11- second deficit to third.
“We had accepted that we weren't going to be able to make up the time.”
But Innes said: “As we queued for the final stage we were surprised to learn that the guys in third place had left the road on the penultimate stage and lost 12 seconds.
“We now had a one-second advantage over them with one stage left.
“With a fight on our hands we put together a much better run through Haye Park to equal the stage time of our rivals and beat them into fourth by one second.”
Herefordshire driver Roger Chilman and Bryan Thomas went on to win the Woodpecker Stages.
The pair arrived back at the Ludlow Racecourse-finish 12 seconds ahead of the Ford Focus WRC of runners-up, Hugh Hunter and Andy Marchbank.
Gardener and Innes are now preparing for the do-or-die final race of the eight-round series.
Innes added: “We now have six weeks to throw everything into the preparation for the Cambrian Rally.”