Dumfries rally ace David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae recorded their second Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge victory of the season on the Severn Valley National Rally to move within one point of the championship lead. The talented young Scots duo took the lead on stage three when former front-runners Keith Cronin/Greg Shinnors lost time, relegating them to third, whilst Richard Cathcart/Martin Brady finished second.
The rally started and finished at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells and featured seven timed special stages in forests on and around the Brecon Beacons. Also a qualifying round of the Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship, the event’s 40-car entry featured 10 Evolution Challenge crews and, once again, it was a nail-biting battle for honours in the one-make series for production specification Mitsubishi Lancers.
Stage one set the scene for the rest of the day and showed just how fierce the competition is in this year’s Evolution Challenge, when five cars stopped the clock on exactly the same second. However, it was Cronin that set the Mitsubishi pace by crossing the line five seconds quicker than anyone else, posting a time that was good enough to see him second overall!
Not far from the start of stage three the young Irishman spun backwards into the scenery, squashing his car’s exhaust pipe, which resulted in a loss of power. In contrast, SS3 could not have gone better for Bogie who posted a time 14 seconds faster than the rest of the Evo Challenge field and catapulted himself into the lead by 10 seconds.
Now on a charge, Cronin won the next three, so that when cars lined-up to start the seventh and final stage, there was just four seconds between him and Bogie who blasted through the 15 miles of Crychan Forest only to find his car’s temperature starting to rise as he reached the end of the stage. For Cronin it was his last hope to take the lead, but it was not to be, as his engine lost power, most likely a result of the restricted exhaust flow earlier in the day.
“What a rally!” said Bogie. “After winning the first round and then suffering disappointing results in rounds two and three, I’m chuffed to bits to finish in first place again. However, for a moment I didn’t think I was going to do it when the car overheated on the drive back to the finish. But we made it and today’s result has made all the difference to my championship hopes.”
The outcome of the Severn Valley National Rally sees the chase for the Evolution Challenge title hotting up, with the top four drivers separated by just one point, Barry and Cathcart on 28 and Bogie and Elsmore on 27. The battle resumes on July 19 when competitors return to Wales for round five, the Swansea Bay Rally.
The 2008 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge is backed by Mitsubishi Motors UK and Ralliart, with support from its associate sponsors.
Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge (Rnd4): Severn Valley National Rally —
1. David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) 1hr 07mins14.9secs;
2. Richard Cathcart (Enniskillen)/Martin Brady (Navan) 1:07:30.9;
3. Keith Cronin (Cork)/Greg Shinnors (Limerick) 1:07:45.3.
Championship Positions after round four
1. Daniel Barry 28pts;
2. Richard Cathcart 28;
3. David Bogie 27.