Russ storms to second victory of the season

Russ Thompson in action''''Picture courtesy of Stanislav Kucera
Russ Thompson in action''''Picture courtesy of Stanislav Kucera
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Whalley’s Russ Thompson was in superb form on the Rallynuts Stages Rally last weekend as he and co-driver Andy Murphy stormed to a second Group N victory of the season.

Having started the year with a 15-second triumph on February’s Cambrian Rally, the elongated gap created by the cancellation of March’s Malcolm Wilson Rally did nothing to stint the duo’s pace, as they ended 40 seconds clear of their nearest rivals.

The gauntlet was thrown down by the 2016 BTRDA Production Cup champions from the first of the events seven stages, Crychan, where the pair made the most of their usual comfort on longer special stages.

A superb performance over the 10 and three quarter mile test handed the pair a 15-second advantage over second placed Paul Davy and in a class where the gaps between competitors are usually measured by single-digit figures, gave themselves a commanding position from which to drive the rest of the event.

Rather than driving to conserve the advantage, Thompson opted to continue to push and remain as the fastest Group N competitor in the field and adding a further five seconds to his advantage as the cars headed for service.

The GPM backed crew remained untouchable through the day’s next 10-miler, Radnor, bettering the rest of Group N by almost a second a mile, before continuing their surge through the second Crychan stage.

While the day’s penultimate test saw Tom Naughton prevent the Lancastrian from completing a clean sweep of fastest class stage times, it was immaterial to the result with Thompson completing the final stage three seconds up on the 2014 champion.

And though the win sees him take an eight-point lead at the head of the Production Cup standings, Thompson refuses to look any further forward than the next event.

He said: “I think we got as good a result as possible there.

“We made a really good start with that time through the first stage and then were able to have a really good push through Radnor and that was really where we took the win.

“I think we got everything out of the car that was there on the day and it’s good to have started the year with two good wins. “We’ve really pushed our pace on this year but we’re not getting too excited about championship positions yet. There’s a lot of rallying to go and my focus is on the Plains in four weeks. It’s the event that we’ve struggled the most with since moving into BTRDA series and the concentration is ongoing as strongly as we can on it this year.”