Matt Cotton has declared himself pleased with taking third in the Citroen C2R2cup at his first attempt despite failing to finish last weekends Wales Rally GB after suffering a dramatic engine failure early on in the event.
Cotton and co-driver Anthony Godden began the three day event still in with a shot at the title and vowed to go flat out from the word go. That proved more difficult than the pair had envisaged after snow fell in Mid Wales in the week leading up to the rally.
The opening stage of the Cardiff based event, the final round of the World Rally Championship, was cancelled due to severe ice on the roads and Cotton was one of many cars to struggle to make it through the forest to the first official stage.
Despite playing it cautiously due to the inconsistent grip levels, the pair were relatively pleased with second fastest Citroen C2R2 through the opening run of Sweet Lamb and were hoping to push a bit harder on the next stage. But when Myherin was cancelled before they could begin the stage the pair headed back to the mid day service having completed only one short stage.
Another top three time on the second running of Sweet Lamb kept Cotton in the thick of the title fight but that was all to come to an end in Myherin. With ice and snow melting a small river crossing near the end of the stage had swelled since the recce and a number of cars were caught out, including Cotton's Ti Motorsport run C2R2. Water was ingested into the engine and his rally was over.
“I cannot deny that we are disappointed at how our rally ended,” he said. “Friday was certainly one of the less enjoyable days of rallying I've had but that, I guess, is just how it goes. It has been an honour to be part of the BRC this year and to finish the season in third position is far more than we could have hoped for.
“I would just like to say a massive thanks to my family for all of their support, as well as to Ti Motorsport and Rallynuts.com.”
At present Matt has no firm plans for 2009 but would obviously like another crack at the title. He is also involved in an exciting project, plans of which will be announced at the Autosport Show in January.
by Geoff Mayes