In a repeat of his dominant performance in 2007, Guy Wilks took victory on every stage of Rally Yorkshire, beating title rival Mark Higgins by a minute and thirty seconds at the end of the penultimate rally in the 2008 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.
However, the result was overturned soon after the finish ceremony, when a protest relating to his Mitsubishi was lodged, leaving Mark Higgins and Rory Kennedy classified as provisional winners.
“Prior to the results of International Rally Yorkshire being declared final, a valid protest was received regarding a technical infringement relating to car #1,” read a statement to the media. “After interviewing all parties and considering a technical report from the BRC eligibility scrutineer, the event stewards excluded car #1 from the results.
“Notification of intent to appeal was subsequently received and consequently the results of International Rally Yorkshire 2008 remain provisional until the outcome of the appeal is known.
“Until such time as the event results are declared final the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship tables reflecting the overall driver and co-driver, the teams and class Rally 4 will not be published.”
The result of the rally will therefore not be known until an appeal is posted and decision on the outcome made. Mitsubishi Motors UK has ten days from the date of the event in which to lodge an appeal.
The start of the rally was foggy, but stunning sunshine broke through soon after, bathing the competitors throughout the ten fast stages. The battle between Wilks/Moynihan's Mitsubishi and Higgins/Kennedy' Subaru got of to a reasonably close start, but Higgins dropped over a minute when his gear linkage broke, meaning a chase was fruitless.
Even if Wilks' appeal is successful and he is re-instated, Higgins would still take over the joint lead of the Championship alongside his brother David, who snatched third from Darren Gass/Neil Shanks, the reigning Pirelli Star Driver having problems on the final stage which dropped from third to sixth on the final road section. His eventual eleventh place after penalties was certainly not representative of his performance on the stages.
Taking the Rally 3 class win were Brian O'Mahony/John Higgins in the front wheel drive Clio S1600, although they suffered all day with the same down-on power engine that had plagued them on the Ulster Rally.