Daniel Barry was pleased to make it back to the finish of the Pirelli Tour of Cumbria to take second place in the third round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, consolidating his position in the championship lead following his wins in the first two events of the year.
The start, finish and service area were located at Carlisle Racecourse, with the event's 70 competitive miles all held on the demanding gravel roads in the infamous Kielder Forest, the route featuring the four stages followed by a service halt and then a repeat of the same four stages.
Having contracted a cold the day before the event, Barry predicted that his performance was likely to be below par, but that didn't stop him setting the fastest Evolution Challenge time on the opening stage. However, the margin between him and his closest rival Simon Hughes was just four-tenths of a second and, on the second stage, the positions were reversed.
With Barry realising that he had opted for tyres with a compound that was too soft, he had no choice but to consolidate his second place until he had the chance to change them at the service area in Carlisle. At the mid-point halt, the time sheets showed Barry now 26 seconds adrift of the leader, but there was a long way to go and a third win was still not out of the question.
Admitting that he was not running at 100 per cent, Barry only pushed when he felt he could do so, but with stage six cancelled when Guy Wilks' car caught fire, there was less opportunity to make up any time.
Opting for a steady approach through the final two stages, Barry duly took second place to retain his MREC lead and the advantage in the MSA Gravel Rally Championship.
“Considering I wasn't feeling 100 per cent I'm pleased to finish second,” Barry said. “Winning a championship is all about good results and not just about trying to win every round. I'm therefore more than satisfied with the performance this weekend and we come away still leading two championships and with a car that's running perfectly.”