After a dream start to the 2010 season, finishing a career-best second overall on the opening round of the British Rally Championship, the Pirelli International Rally ended in disappointment for Dave Weston Jr as he rolled out of the event with only two stages to go.
There were only 19 stage miles left to run when Junior and co-driver Ieuan Thomas left the road, having worked hard to push their way up to fourth overall in the event after finishing the opening stage lying ninth due to the extremely dusty conditions in the forests reducing visibility on the Friday night stages.
"We were pushing hard in stage ten, The Craggs, because we knew Jonny Greer had closed up and was only 17 seconds behind us going into the stage," Weston said, "But, after a really fast section, we got caught on some loose gravel and the car slid wide. While I was correcting the car, it dug in and launched us into a series of rolls.
"I think we rolled about four or five times. It was a pretty big off but myself and my co-driver are fine, it's a credit to Prodrive and the strength of the Subaru Impreza N2010 that it came out of such a big roll so well. What makes it all feel worse is that we weren't far from the end of the stage when it happened."
The rally had been looking promising for Junior. Not only had he completed a thorough test of the car at Sweet Lamb with Mark Higgins ahead of the event, he had also found out the day before the rally that Higgins was putting in a late entry to become his team-mate.
"After the test, the car was in great shape, and the opportunity to have Mark as a team-mate was great for me," he said, "I've done a lot of testing and driver training with him, so to have him, a triple British champion, in the same service area to talk to and get advice from was a fantastic experience. Then during the event we had another good battle with Jonny Greer and set some good times.
"I'm obviously extremely disappointed that our rally ended the way it did - you drop one score in the BRC, so this needs to be the one round now where we don't pick up points. After Alastair Fisher retired in front of us on stage seven, we were running fourth overall when we rolled. That could have been a good enough points haul to leave us leading the BRC points this morning, which would have been a dream come true."
The result has moved Weston from second overall in the BRC drivers' championship, down to tenth, but only 13 points behind leader Greer with four rounds of the championship left to go.
The Ramsport team are currently assessing the damage to the N2010 and putting plans in place to ensure Weston gets plenty of time to test before the championship switches to asphalt for the next round of the BRC, the Jim Clark International Rally on Junior's home turf in Scotland in five weeks' time.