Mark Gamble staged a mammoth fightback to secure a podium finish and valuable points in the Suzuki Swift Sport Cup on the Ulster International Rally.
After picking up a puncture on the first stage of the event, damage limitation was going to be the order of the opening day. Having to stop and change the wheel demoted the crew of the Jam Motorsport Suzuki Swift to last place with three more stages on Friday evening and Gamble was struggling to get a consistent rhythm on the dark stages. But all was not lost as nearest championship rival Niki Bjerg had crashed out earlier on.
Saturday morning saw a rejuvinated Gamble ready to chase down the four and a half minute deficit to the rest of the field and after setting a string of fastest stages times throughout the remainder of the event he managed to haul himself back into contention.
"Before I came out to Ireland the best I was really hoping for was second place, as Ross Forde was always going be the quickest here being on home turf, but after we picked up the puncture up on the first stage it made the task that little bit harder,” he said. “We just drove at a consistent pace throughout the event and tried to rescue as many points in the championship as possible."
Gamble and co-driver Steve Link returned to the service park at the end of the hundred and thirty five mile event settling for fourth position, but later found out that dramas on the last stage had promoted them to third and the last place on the podium.
"Henry Catchpole rolled on the last stage and managed to still get the car back to service, but we were unsure how much time he had lost," he explained, "He was lying in second place at the time, but dropped two and a half minutes meaning we have been promoted to third. I'm over the moon with that result after Friday's problems but at the same time feel gutted for Henry as he has driven so well."
With two rounds remaining Gamble now has a six point advantage over Scotsman Gordon Nichol in the standings.