Matt Edwards secured his maiden Prestone MSA British Rally Championship title after finishing third in round five of the championship behind round five winner David Bogie and Rhys Yates.
The Welshman, who had a hundred percent winning record in the series so far this season couldn’t continue his winning run after a penultimate stage puncture meant he was unable to challenge Bogie while at the time lying in second place.
Edwards’ tyre change dropped him down to third in Wales, but he knew a top four finish after the opening nine stages of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB would be enough for him and co-driver Darren Garrod to win the championship in the M-Sport Ford Fiesta R5.
An ecstatic Edwards said on his win: “It’s how the box-set will look with my picture on the front cover! That’s all I’ve been bothered about! It’s amazing. It hasn’t sunk in yet. We had a nightmare over the last two hours and the last two stages. It’s tried its best to undo us but we’ve got there. Huge credit to everybody who’s been behind us over the last three years and obviously Swift Group and Pete Smith have done an amazing job for us getting everybody behind us.”
“With Pirelli tyres too, that was a big thing – having the tyres to do the job. I went into today perfectly calm. I knew we had the ability to just drive it through and get it there but I just caught a bank on the Tarmac and it undid a couple of bolts on the back end so it misbehaved for a bit but we strapped it up and got it back here.”
He added: “There was never a moment where we didn’t think that we could do it. It’s nice to have the confidence to do the job. Neither of us panicked and we took the decision to stop and change the tyre because we knew we had enough in hand to do it and not jeopardise major damage. We had the presence of mind to do what was needed. I’m overjoyed, as you can imagine.”
“We need two days stress-free and we’re going to go and enjoy ourselves in a fantastic car on fantastic stages and it’s an absolute privilege to be in this position. I’ve no doubt that there are people out there faster and I’ve just got to count my lucky stars that I’m still doing it.”
The penultimate round of the season saw the action get underway on Thursday night with Yates winning the opening super special, before Bogie dominated throughout Friday, taking six out of eight stage wins on his way to his first victory of the season. Alex Laffey completed the top four in BRC1.
The number of challengers in the Prestone MSA Motorsport News Junior BRC has been halved from four to two as both William Creighton and Kevin Horgan retired during Friday’s action.
Vauxhall Adam R2 driver James Williams won round five, closing the gap at the top of the standings to Steve Røkland to 12 points. The Norwegian does still only need seven points to win the title as round six gets underway this morning.
Four drivers are still in contention in the BRC Cadet Cup as Finlay Retson took a fine victory in round five. Championship leader Jordan Reynolds continued his push for the title as he took second after the nine stages ahead of the other two championship contenders Bart Lang and Jonnie Mulholland. Spencer Wilkinson and John Morrison both finished in the Production Cup and National Rally Cup respectively.
The final round of the 2018 Prestone MSA British Rally Championship begins this morning, running as part of 2018 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.