Molly Taylor and Jemma Bellingham made it a second win in a row in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup, with victory on the Carlisle-based Pirelli International Rally.
Australian driver Taylor and her local co-driver battled stages in the notorious 'Killer Kielder' and Kershope Forests in their Monster Sport Europe and Motorsport Insurance Services backed Suzuki Swift Sport.
The girls left the start at Carlisle Racecourse on Friday evening, for two stages in Kershope Forest. Running later down the field, meant that they would be completing the stages just as it was getting dark.
They didn't quite get off to the start they'd hoped for as the rough nature of the stages caused the to drop time on the opening test. They continued through SS2, determined to get through the tricky stages and back into service. At the end of leg one, the girls were lying third in the Swift Sport Cup, twenty seconds behind leader, Luke Pinder.
Leg two began early on Saturday morning with four stages in the Kielder Forest Complex. On SS5, the girls managed to claw back some time from fellow Suzuki competitor, Richard Sykes to climb into second place and then took the lead amongst the Suzuki runners on the following test when Pinder crashed out.
The lead was short lived when Sykes took 2.9 seconds back and they were then affected by the hold-up when Guy Wilks' car caught fire. They assumed the rally was over and had settled for second place when organisers announced they would still run the two final stages of the day in Kershope, so the title was still to be fought.
Determined to have a good battle with Sykes for the win, the girls set out on SS11 with the plan to push as hard as they could without taking any major risks. However they were given the lead by default as Sykes suffered mechanical problems mid-way through the stage.
“We were genuinely disappointed to see Richard stopped in stage as I was looking forward to comparing our times with him at the finish,” Taylor said. “The rally has been a real rollercoaster for us this weekend. We struggled with the rough stages on Friday night, and then we had the battle with Luke and Richard for the win.
“It's a huge relief to have finished and to win again. We've taken maximum championship points for the first two rounds, which will help us massively for the rest of the season.”
The pair eventually won the Swift Sport Cup by 1min 16secs from Manx-man David Harrison.