Ford/M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson jumped back behind the wheel and took an emphatic victory on the 2008 Roger Albert Clark Rally on Monday.
Wilson began the day's final five stages of the event with a comfortable buffer in his Kick Energy/Pirelli supported Stobart Ford Escort Mk2 and he did not waste the opportunity to claim his first ever RAC rally crown by a massive six and a half minute margin over his closest rival.
After two spectator stages on Friday night, and a further two on Saturday morning in Leeds, the proper action got underway as Wilson proceeded to win 10 stages on the trot and head into Saturday night's service with a commanding 1 minute 42 second lead over Irishman Martin McCormack.
Sunday saw McCormack fight back and after 20 stages the gap was now down to just 56 seconds, still in the favour of Wilson.
Unfortunately McCormack slipped off the road on stage 21 handing the former British Rally Champion a five minute lead to his closest opponent David Stokes by the close of the day.
It was a superb effort by Wilson to dominate the event which was helped by co-driver John Millington who, as a former Motorsport News
Road Rally Champion, had a wealth of experience on the maps and of the route they would encounter.
“I'm absolutely overjoyed. Roger Clark was my hero and to come back and win the rally that carries his name is a real joy,” Wilson reflected. “It's so easy to forget the physical effort required and in the old RAC rallies we didn't really have many second passes over the stages; but here I found it really demanding. However, it's also very rewarding to know I can still be reasonably competitive.
“I knew, after competing on the McRae Stages, just how difficult this rally would be and I trained hard for it and it's really paid off. But I have to take my hat off to Milly, he was fantastic on the maps and his preparation for the rally was first class; he left no stone unturned.
“The boys in the team here have done a stunning job as well. The car was only started on the morning of the rally and it's run like clockwork with no major problems at all. And I can't believe I haven't put a scrape on it either, that's not like me!”
The RAC Rally's route is a real challenge to crews and this year there was no exception with competition kicking off Friday night in Leeds before making its way north through the Yorkshire and Cumbrian counties on Saturday. Sunday then took crews to south west Scotland and the Dumfries and Galloway region before heading east on Monday for the final stages in Kielder Forest.