Andrew Burton and Shelley Rogerson made a successful start to their 2009 BTRDA Championship campaign when they took maximum points on the Wyedean Forest Rally last weekend.
Heavy snow in the days before the rally saw the forest stages look more like those in Sweden than Gloucestershire but the rally organisers worked hard to make the tracks passable. However, freezing overnight temperatures meant that ice was a big risk as the crews headed to the opening pair of stages, Sallowvallets and Serridge.
Burton and Rogerson were immediately on the pace in their Peugeot Cosworth, setting one fastest and one second fastest time to take the rally lead ahead of Nik Elsmore and Daniel Barry.
The longest stage of the rally, Speech House, followed and after a few moments on the ice the pair backed off slightly to reduce the risk of going off for good.
A short stage at Chepstow racecourse followed and, as the crews headed to the main service halt of the event, Burton and Rogerson were in third place overall behind Elsmore and Barry, although neither of those crews were registered for championship points.
"The conditions were very testing with snow and ice everywhere, Andy drove really well to keep the car on the road and maintain a competitive pace," said Shelley. "We were using some old tyres which weren't ideal for the conditions so we were happy to emerge from the first loop of stages in third place".
Two more stages followed after the service halt - Chepstow Park and another stage in Serridge.
Chepstow Park was particularly slippery and Burton and Rogerson slid to tenth place on the stage, dropping to fourth overall. A few seconds were gained on the final stage which saw third place regained.
"I'm very happy with third place,” Shelley summed-up. “I wasn't looking forward to the conditions but once we were on the stages I enjoyed it. It's a great start to the championship and after some bad luck last year I'm pleased to get to the finish in one piece.”