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Sturminster Newton driver is a Wyedean wonder
5:30pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 in Sport
DORSET rally driver Tony Williams made a successful start to his 2013 season with a third in class finish at the Team GMF Wyedean Forest Rally.
Along with co-driver Karen Phelps, the 47-year old produced a resolute drive over the 50 miles of special stages, held in the Forest Of Dean, as once again countless rally crews fell victim to the arduous conditions the event always seems to produce.
Having had to withdraw from the opening round of the BTRDA Silver Star Two-Wheel Drive Rally Championship last season after sheet ice hit the Gloucestershire forests Williams was hoping for better fortunes this time out.
With fog and rain greeting the crews at the start of stage one, the Sturminster Newton driver soon became embroiled in a battle for honours in the B11 class, trading times with the similar Ford Escorts of Dave Harris and Rob Dennis.
With the morning loop of stages complete Williams entered the Chepstow service area 26 seconds ahead of Somerset-based Harris.
A puncture near the end of stage five and a delay caused by another competitor’s accident on the final stage of the day put paid to any chance of better than third but Williams was more than happy to have held off two of his main rivals.
He said: “Before the event I had set myself a target of hanging on to the tails of Dave and Rob so both myself and Karen are more than pleased.
“What a difference from last year’s Wyedean, however, the stages were still very wet and slippery.”
Williams went on to add that with a delayed start to the 14-mile Speech House stage, the final test of the day was quite a challenge. He said: “It got pretty dark by the time we set off with no spot lamps fitted and windows steaming up so it was very interesting.
“We did have one very big moment on a tight left going around 50mph more than we should have been.
“It was pretty worrying but the car did its own thing - no skill on my part I might add, just luck.
“Still it must have looked fantastic for the spectators.”