Stuart Jones proved once again that he is one of the United Kingdoms top rallying talents by finishing second overall in last weekends International Rally of Yorkshire, despite contesting the rally in a borrowed car on a limited budget.
Although Jones recently won the International Rally Reykjavik in Iceland, the 24-year-old Welshman has not competed in the MSA British Rally Championship since finishing third overall on the Bulldog International Rally of North Wales back in March.
With the last few months being all about raising the budget for this one rally, Jones and co-driver Andy Bull were aware that they had their backs to the wall and thus opted to just run their own rally and not worry about stage times.
A slow start saw Jones down in eighth after the first run through Langdale, admitting that he was more rusty than expected. By stage three the Lico UK backed Evo 10 was on the pace, going faster than both the title protagonists through Gale Rigg.
By the end of the day the Nunn's Mitsubishi pairing had set no less than six top-three stage times en route to finishing second overall, beaten only by the newly crowned champion Keith Cronin.
“Absolutely incredible!” Jones said. “Before the rally I was secretly aiming for the podium but I know how fast the pace is in the championship and I was acutely aware that I was a bit rusty, so to be on the pace and show people how competitive the SJR built Evo 10 can be is great!
“I would like to say a massive thank you to Daniel Sigurdarson for lending me his car this weekend and to Nunn's Mitsubishi for all of their assistance. Without this type of support we would never have been here this weekend.
“I would like to dedicate this whole rally to my good friend Paul Adams who passed away unexpectedly last weekend. Paul has been a great friend and supporter my whole life and he'll be sorely missed.
The result saw Jones receive the much vaunted Pirelli star driver award which will see the young talent go head to head with the other nominees in a shootout in a few weeks time. The winner receives a fully funded drive in the MSA British Rally Championship in 2010.
by Geoff Mayes