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Marcus Dodd wins UK Rallye Sunseeker

With Photos by Gary Parravani
Sunday, February 24, 2008

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Marcus Dodd and Andrew Bargery
Marcus Dodd has won Rallye Sunseeker for the sixth time in his career – he and co-driver Andrew Bargery overcame clutch troubles on their Hyundai Accent WRC during the first leg of the event to move to the front of the field and, by the time they arrived back in Bournemouth, UK, their winning margin was 43 seconds after over 62 miles of special stages. The win puts the pair into the lead of the Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship after the opening round.

Runners-up were Andy Burton & Shelley Rogerson in their hybrid Peugeot Cosworth, while third place went to the Ford Focus WRC of Irish crew Stephen Moore/Tony McHugh.

Adding to the variety and in spite of a one-minute penalty, the Subaru Impreza WRC of Jon Ingram/Ian Allsop was 4th , ahead of the similar car of Will Nicholls, from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight .

Rallye Sunseeker was also the first round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, bringing 15 crews in Lancer EVOs to the south coast as they set out on the long road to win the most popular ‘One-Make' series in the UK . First blood went to Scottish teenager David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae who finished an excellent 6th overall in their EVO9. However, such was the level of competition that seven Mitsubishi crews finished the rally with less than a minute separating first and last! Daniel Barry, Seb Ling, Nik Elsmore and Richard Cathcart completed the top ten, with Elsmore setting fastest time overall on the opening stage of the rally in Bournemouth's Lower Gardens on the Friday evening.

This year's Rallye Sunseeker also hosted a celebration of the MG Metro 6R4 and over 30 of the iconic Austin Rover machines had gathered on the south coast. Whilst many were involved in displays and demonstrations, a number contested the rally ‘proper'. Of these, the first one home was that of Yorkshireman Warren Philliskirk who finished just inside the top twenty.

The first two-wheel drive car to arrive at the finish was the Ford Escort Mexico of Vincent Bristow, while Sunseeker ‘veteran' Tony Jardine's Ford Fiesta ST won its class.

There was no repeat of the torrential rain that occurred in 2007, or of the snow that has added to the challenge in years past but, nevertheless, the list of retirements totaled more than a third of the original 85 starters. That will be of no consolation to Julian Reynolds whose ex Colin McRae Subaru Impreza was sidelined by a misfire, nor indeed to Tristan Pye whose rally ended rather abruptly against a tree!

2008 represents the tenth consecutive year that Sunseeker International Ltd have sponsored the rally, and the ‘biggest event of its type in the south of England' has once again proved to be a stern, but very popular, challenge for all concerned.

Photos

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