Woodburn takes positives from rally despite premature finish

Tom Woodburn in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Tom Woodburn in his Ford Fiesta R5.
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British Rally Championship co-driver Tom Woodburn says he and driver Rhys Yates can take nothing but positives from last weekend’s Mid Wales Stages, even though their event ended prematurely in retirement.

The Brettex-backed crew’s Ford Fiesta R5 ran wide on the rally’s fourth special stage and into a roadside ditch, from which the duo were unable to drive out of.

Taking place around Newtown and making use of stages that grace the UK’s round of the World Rally Championship, the pair’s season began with two challenging night stages on Saturday evening.

Running on their own pace-notes for the first time as a crew, their pace had them set for a solid top ten time before a puncture a mile from the finish forced them to slow and salvage a time that placed them 15th on the leaderboard.

In the night’s second test they delivered the fifth fastest time on a stage covered in snow and ice which hauled them up to 12th place, 30 seconds away from the points.

With time to make up, Woodburn and Yates were flying on Sunday morning through stage three and tricky conditions before a spin stunted their progress as they closed in on a top ten finish.

Speaking afterwards, Woodburn said: “Our pace this weekend has been a huge confidence boost, with more positives to take from this weekend than anything else.

“It was the first time on our own notes, which worked well and Rhys was driving very comfortably.”