Clitheroe rally ace holds off rival Naughton by 10 seconds

Russ Thompson on his way to a class win at the Malcolm Wilson Rally
Russ Thompson on his way to a class win at the Malcolm Wilson Rally

Russ Thompson believes he can look forward to running a competitive pace on the remaining rounds of this year’s Hyundai GenPower BTRDA Production cup, after taking an impressive class win at the Malcolm Wilson Rally, his second of the season.

The 27-year-old Clitheroe ace prevailed in a day-long battle with Tom Naughton in which the pair traded times throughout, with Thompson’s runs through Grizedale North and South proving decisive in overhauling Naughton’s nine-second advantage from the morning’s loop.

Arriving at the first of the two stages in the legendary Lake District forest trailing by nine seconds, a committed and precise run 10 seconds faster through North than their rival, gave Thompson and co-driver Andy Murphy a one-second lead.

An even more impressive performance through South saw Naughton blitzed by 16 seconds over the 11 and a half mile test, giving Thompson a healthy 17-second advantage heading into the final two stages.

While Naughton put in a determined charge, their relatively short length allowed Thompson to limit the ground regained and take 20 points for a win by 10 seconds.

Thompson declared it a job well done, and cause for optimism for the rest of the season.

He said: “We were thinking that this would be a tough event for us after last year where a few things didn’t work out.

“We also knew we would face a tough battle with Tom after chatting to him after the Wyedean, so were really pleased to take the class win and to be well in the top 10.

“We’re now just really happy with how we have the car set up, it is stable, reliable and we are finding more and more speed in ourselves, because we are have the confidence in what the car is going to do that’s letting us push things a bit more.”

Thompson is next in action on the Somerset Stages Rally on Saturday, April 18th.