British Rally Championship

Duckworth, Ford And Potter Share Sunseeker Event Wins

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Roger Duckworth, Now A Four Time Rallye Sunseeker Winner - Photo Credit: Stuart Paice


Alongside the International event, a report on which can be found here, there were three other sections that formed the 2012 Rallye Sunseeker.


Top of these is the ever-popular Rallye Sunseeker National event, introduced last season to allow loyal local competitors to continue competing on the event, as well as allowing other drivers outside of the BRC to enter the event.

Three time event winner Roger Duckworth headed into the event as the favourite and the Subaru Impreza WRC driver lived up to the billing, dominating the entire national event, leading throughout and winning every stage for his fourth Sunseeker win, making him the second most successful driver in the events history.

Behind Duckworth, second place was comfortably taken by Michael O'Brien in his 2008 Ford Focus WRC, while a battle for third emerged between his son Daniel O'Brien and Anthony Wilmington. The latter held the spot for most of the rally in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, but lost the spot over the final two stages to the youngster, who completed a great result for the family, whilst Wilmington was once again the nearly man, having retired in 2011 whilst leading the event by nearly a minute.

Taking a hugely popular fifth place was Stuart Larbey in his MG Metro 6R4. The car was set for a Sunseeker swansong last year, but when it broke down with a differential problem, Larbey decided to bring it back in 2012 and was rewarded with a strong finish. Larbey finished ahead of a pair of Subaru Impreza's, with Alex Hawkins and Shelley Taunt finished seventh and eighth respectively behind the Ford Escort Mk II of Matt Thorne.

Position Driver Co-Driver Car Time Difference
1 Roger Duckworth Mark Broomfield Subaru Impreza WRC 0:53:22.7
2 Michael O'Brien Paul Spooner Ford Focus WRC 0:54:35.4 + 0:01:12.7
3 Daniel O'Brien Paul Morris Ford Focus WRC 0:56:02.5 + 0:02:39.8
4 Anthony Wilmington Andy White Mitsubishi Evo VI 0:57:00.9 + 0:03:38.2
5 Stuart Larbey Simon Larbey MG Metro 6R4 1:01:16.2 + 0:07:53.5
6 Matt Thorne Les Harrogate Ford Escort Mk II 1:01:46.9 + 0:08:24.2
7 Alex Hawkins Bradley Down Subaru Impreza 1:02:39.7 + 0:09:17.0
8 Shelly Taunt Julie Murphy Subaru Impreza N10 1:03:39.6 + 0:10:16.9
9 Simon Smith Sylvia Earle Ford Escort 1:04:03.7 + 0:10:41.0
10 Jay Wyatt Sally Wyatt Ford Escort Mk II 1:11:37.0 + 0:18:14.3
11 Matthew Smith Mark Singleton-Legg Ford Sierra XR 1:11:48.4 + 0:18:25.7
12 Tom Aldridge Mark Brown Land Rover Wolf XD 1:12:58.2 + 0:19:35.5
13 Curtis McKerlie Ross Hunter Land Rover Wolf XD 1:14:20.6 + 0:20:57.9
14 Ross Cookman Malcolm Lofthouse Land Rover Wolf XD 1:16:05.7 + 0:22:43.0
15 Gary Hayter Richard Aitken Peugeot 205 1:16:29.7 + 0:23:07.0
16 Peter Entwistle Robert Birch Land Rover Wolf XD 1:16:37.6 + 0:23:14.9


James Ford Emerged As The Sunseeker Challenge Winner - Photo Credit: Stuart Paice



The Rallye Sunseeker Challenge section held the competitors competing in the official support series to the BRC, the NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge. The section was full of drama throughout, running over the first ten stages of the event.

Russ Thompson took the early lead in his Renault Clio, but was instantly in close competition with Simon Moore, James Ford and Richard Sykes. Moore took the stage win on SS3 to move into second, but his event unravelled on the next stage, when his Renault Clio blew its head gasket, meaning retirement.

This promoted Ford to second in his Ford Escort MkII and after five stage wins, he finally took the event lead after SS8. Thompson looked to fight back on SS9, but his fight was ended when the driveshaft on his Clio broke.

This gifted Ford a clear run to victory on the final stage, taking the win by 53 seconds from Sykes, who slowly slipped out of the fight for the lead in his Citroen C2R2 Max as the rally developed. Gareth White completed the podium in another Citroen, while Mark McCulloch overcame vibrations in his Proton Satria to take fourth, ahead of the Volkswagen Polo of James Watts and the Ford Fiesta ST's of Tony Simpson and Adam Taylor.

The Challenge section was blighted by retirements throughout, with Thompson and Moore being joined on the sidelines by another driver expected to challenge for the win, Richard Archer, after his impressive Opel Corsa fell to a fuel pump problem at the end of the opening stage.








James   Ford

Neil   Colman

Ford   Escort Mk II



Richard   Sykes

Simon   Taylor

Citroen   C2R2 Max


+   0:00:53.1


Gareth   White

Mike   Dickson

Citroen   C2R2 Max


+   0:02:08.9


Mark   McCulloch

Proton   Satria


+   0:03:37.8


James   Watts

Steve   Hartley

Volkswagen   Polo


+   0:04:25.6


Tony   Simpson

Stefan   Arndt

Ford   Fiesta ST


+   0:04:55.7


Adam   Taylor

Loic   Ditchburn

Ford   Fiesta ST


+   0:08:59.8


James Potter Took The Sunseeker Historique Victory - Photo Credit: Stuart Paice



The Historique event welcomed competitors as the opening round of the HRCR Historic Stage Rally Challenge and Mini Cup, the third time the Bournemouth-based rally has done so.

Leading the way from start to finish, taking a comprehensive victory was James Potter, the Ford Escort MK II driver dominating a field consisting of former series champions and event winners, winning every one of the eight stages the event ran over.

Peter Egerton led the pursuit over the first half of the rally in another Ford Escort, however a gearbox problem on SS5 saw him lose over three and a half minutes to his rivals, dropping him down the order, before he eventually retired on the next stage.

This promoted Robert Dennis to second in his Escort and he held onto the spot until the end, finishing over two minutes behind the winner. Matt Fowle took third in his Ford Escort Mexico, an impressive result for the driver, who for the previous 25 years had been involved in the running of the event.

The Mini Cup honours went the way of Jason Thompson, who led home the 2011 Mini Cup champion Eric Davis and 2010 Challenge champion John Brooks.

Position Driver Co-Driver Car Time Difference
1 James Potter Nick Broome Ford Escort MkII 0:45:10.0
2 Robert Dennis Lee Harding Ford Escort 0:47:18.2 + 0:02:08.2
3 Matthew Fowle Elliot Edmondson Ford Escort Mexico 0:48:27.9 + 0:03:17.9
4 Nick Danks Martin Corbett Ford Escort Mexico 0:49:23.8 + 0:04:13.8
5 Bob Gibbons Stuart Cardell Ford Cortina MkII 0:51:43.2 + 0:06:33.2
6 Jason Thompson Hugh Thompson BLMC Mini 0:52:41.4 + 0:07:31.4
7 Eric Davis Russell Joseph Mini Clubman 0:52:52.2 + 0:07:42.2
8 John Brooks Phil Harvey Austin Mini Cooper 0:53:30.6 + 0:08:20.6
9 Wayne Loveland Michael Ellis Fiat 131 0:53:38.5 + 0:08:28.5
10 Gordon Cameron Sheila Grimshaw Morris Cooper 0:54:59.9 + 0:09:49.9
11 Nigel Dutson Keith Fellowes Austin Clubman GT 0:55:08.9 + 0:09:58.9
12 Peter Lansdale Adrian Grinstead Sunbeam Lotus 0:58:40.6 + 0:13:30.6


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Simon is an experienced journalist and PR officer, who has worked in the national motorsport paddocks for over a decade, primarily on the BTCC support package.
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