The battle for the 2008 MSA Pirelli Gravel Rally Championship reaches its crescendo when the penultimate round of the title chase takes place in North Yorkshire this Saturday with the Trackrod National Rally.

Altrincham property developer, Jon Ingram, has been the model of consistency in his Subaru WRC this year, having finished all five previous events to date, four of them on the podium no less, including a win on the Border Counties Rally back in April.

He leads the series on gross points, a healthy 24 points ahead of nearest rival, defending ANCRO Champion Marcus Dodd in his Hyundai Accent WRC, but despite retiring from the Border Counties after damage sustained when he visited a Kielder ditch, the Poole businessman has racked up wins on his home event in February, Rallye Sunseeker, as well as last time out on the Swansea Bay in late July.

As a result, when the two dropped scores are taken into account, the - in some people's eyes - controversial scoring system, which favours outright wins rather than consistency, sees Dodd leading Ingram by a single point!

All of this means there are a number of possible permutations for the various results for teams to consider on the ANCRO Championship's welcome return to Yorkshire.

For example, if Dodd wins both the Trackrod and next month's Bulldog rallies, he is champion by at least six points irrespective of where Ingram finishes. If Dodd wins one rally and is placed second in the other with Ingram doing the same; Dodd is champion by one point. However, if Ingram wins both the Trackrod and Bulldog rallies with Dodd finishing second, Ingram is champion by five points.

Now throw in another part to the equation, and this is all dependent if he is in action after a fire put him out of the Woodpecker Rally last month and that is the awesome Peugeot Cosworth of Andrew Burton who is the only other driver who realistically can challenge for the title.

If he indeed enters and subsequently wins both the Trackrod and Bulldog rallies, with Dodd finishing second in each, Dodd is still champion by a point, but if Burton wins both events with Ingram finishing second in each, both are tied on points whereby Burton would take the title on wins 3 - 1.

There are numerous permutations in the various classes that make up the ANCRO Championship also and although the National element of the event hasn't attracted a huge entry, the crews who have entered are of the highest order.

As well as Ingram and Dodd battling it out around the classic tests of Dalby, Cropton and Langdale are former National champions Steve Perez and Roger Duckworth in their respective Ford and Subaru. Perez, who will jet back in from the Incas Rally in Peru for the event, won last year's rally and Duckworth has already sampled an ANCRO victory this year also.

Uncharacteristically, the Trackrod is not a round for the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge so only a handful of crews chasing overall and class honours are entered, namely Nik Elsmore who leads the Production Cup class.

Interestingly, former Yorkshire champion Steve Petch swaps cars with son Stephen meaning Petch Senior will driver the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 previously campaigned by his son with Petch Junior continuing his ascendancy in the old man's Hyundai Accent WRC.

Throw in the likes of Charlie Payne, Harry Dodd, Tony Thompson and Alan Cookson and the battle for victory down the super-fast 130mph tracks will be anyone's guess.

The event is combining a number of various championships, including for the first time, dove-tailing with the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, which means a leisurely start for the MSA Pirelli Gravel Rally Championship competitors.

Seeded at number one, Steve Perez will lead the field away from the Pickering Showground start at 12.31 before heading to the Dalby complex for stages at Housedale, Gale Rigg and Cropton before a service halt at the Showground at 15.05. A spectator stage follows at Pickering at 16.01 before crews head back for a second loop around Langdale and Givendale before returning to the finish as dusk falls at 18.50.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment