Brian O'Mahony and John Higgins had an unfortunate end to their Tesco 99 British Rally Championship season as they finished round six by superally and failed to start the final round on this weekend's Wales Rally GB.
The pair were contesting the 230-mile Cardiff-based event for the first time in their OM Concrete Products and MIS-backed Super 1600 Renault Clio with it counting for the final two rounds of the BRC.
Round six started on Friday and the pair set off cautiously on the opening two stages across the unknown gravel roads before beginning to push on the third test but an overshoot cost them some time. Disaster then struck on the fourth stage when the engine blew after passing through the water splash and their event was ended prematurely.
They were classified in the BRC at the end of Friday under superally rules with 15 minutes worth of penalties – five minutes for each of the three stages they missed – and finished as the twelfth crew in the series.
The damage to the Clio was terminal and it meant that that O'Mahony and Higgins were unable to start the seventh and final round of the championship on Saturday.
Despite that disappointment, O'Mahony won the British Junior Rally Championship and finished joint eighth overall in the drivers' standings whilst Higgins claimed the class Rally 3 co-drivers' crown and was eighth in the overall co-drivers' points.
“We're really gutted that we finished under superally and then couldn't start the last round due to the engine failure,” O'Mahony said. “It means I've missed out on the class drivers' honours and both of us on the Privateers Cup.
“I'm pleased, however, to have won the Junior Championship, that's a great award to have and a good way to end what's been a mixed year.
“The water splash seemed to be deeper the second time through it which caught us out and just killed the engine.
“It's a shame we didn't get further on our first time on Wales Rally GB but the stages didn't seem too bad although they had cut up quite a lot.”