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GRC: Dodd lifts title as Perez wins in Swansea

Marcus Dodd and Andrew Bargery have wrapped-up this year's Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship title after finishing second overall in the Swansea Bay National Rally – taking title honours for the fifth time.

The event was won by Steve Perez and Paul Spooner in their Ford Focus WRC as they finished 8.6 seconds ahead of the Hyundai Accent WRC of Dodd and Bargery, who had lost around 30 seconds on the opening stage with a turbo problem.

"It has been great and brilliant to win,” Dodd said on his third straight title. “It is just a shame we didn't win the event but it's good to win the championship here. We backed off a bit and took it steady because we knew we only needed second place. We have won three events this year and finished second in two, it's nearly been perfect."

Perez, taking his first win in the series this season despite picking up a 20 second penalty due to a late exit from the first service, was pleased to win on an event where he hadn't expected to challenge.

"We really pushed in the last four stages, it was the drive of my life,” he said. “We went hard and fast. It's fantastic to win at Swansea as it's more Marcus' and Roger's (Duckworth) territory so I was an outsider."

There was an exchange from the top spot throughout the event. Perez took the lead from the start and held it until stage three when the penalty slipped him down the order to third as Duckworth took charge from Dodd.

A gearbox problem for Duckworth on stage four meant that Dodd then headed the leaderboard. He held onto it until stage eight with just 1.9 seconds separating him from Perez but a final push by the former champion saw him finish with the victory.

Duckworth and co-driver Mark Broomfield were third in their Subaru Impreza WRC whilst Irishmen Daniel Barry and Martin Brady took third in the Pirelli MSA Gravel Championship and with their fourth position the overall honours in the Production Cup and the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge in their Mitsubishi Evo.

Icelandic driver Daniel Sigurdarson and co-driver Andrew Sankey took fifth overall in their Mitsubishi Evo X and 18 points in the series followed by the Ford Focus WRC of John Lloyd and Pauline Gullick.




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Marcus Dodd wins the GRC title [Pic credit: CMWI.net]
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