County Durham rally driver Chris Anderson was in action at Ingliston near Edinburgh over the weekend when he contested the Mercury Motorsport Stages Rally and he came away with a fine 22nd place overall.

And whilst the 17-year-old maintenance engineer from Butterknowle near Bishop Auckland also managed seventh in class on this occasion, what was impressive was the result was achieved with his first ever drive in a four-wheel drive Group N car.

Following problems on the previous event with the ex-Guy Wilks Ford Puma S1600, various parts were late in arriving meaning that an eleventh hour decision was made to hire a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 in which to contest the Dunfermline Car Club event over two days at the Royal Highland Showground.

Along with Durham co-driver Chris Thirling and with backing from Wilkinson Maintenance Ltd, John Cullerton & Sons and Bells Truck Sales, the pair made a steady start in the MSR Motorsport-prepared car as they gradually got used to the totally different characteristics.

Holding 31st overnight after Saturday's action, Anderson gradually upped the pace and at the end of the event on Sunday, he had climbed to 22nd overall out of the fifty plus starters and after two hours of competition he had posted an identical time to the crew in front. However, by virtue of the fact that Chris was acclimatizing to the car on the first stage and thus slower he was placed 22nd rather than 21st overall.

"It was an experience and I'm delighted to get a good finish on my debut in the car," Anderson reflected. "It was totally different to what I'm used to what with the lack of noise and handling characteristics but as the event progressed I found it easier to drive and I'm particularly happy that there's not a scratch on it!

"Out of the two, I think I prefer my Ford Puma as it's a lot more challenging to drive and hopefully we can get a good finish on our next event but I'd like to thank both my dad Stuart and Mark Robson of MSR Motorsport for sorting the car out at such short notice."

In the meantime, Anderson is in action this forthcoming weekend at a charity event at Bruntingthorpe where he will be taking out passengers in aid of terminally ill and under-privileged children, as well as fund raising for Cancer Research. He will be driving the Mitsubishi again and hopefully the Ford Puma too. Further details are available from Brian Neale on 07976 832825.

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