Alan Cookson and co-driver Julian Wilkinson enjoyed a positive return to action as they finished an impressive eighth overall on the Trackrod National Rally.

The crew also claimed fifth spot in class B13 in their Subaru Impreza World Rally Car in the penultimate round of the Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship.

The pair, competing following a two-month break, posted times consistently inside the top-ten across the gravel on the Pickering-based event and were joint seventh fastest across the spectator special stage with third-placed finisher Julian Reynolds in the similar car.

It was Cookson's first time back in the North York Moors forests since 1992 when he competed in a Mk2 Ford Escort and finished fifth overall but it did not take him long to get back into the swing of the fast stages as his TEG Sport-run Impreza ran well.

The only small problems the duo had to battle with was a misfire and the dashboard coming loose on the first loop of stages, issues which were easily put right in service as they went on to bag that top 10 result that had eluded them all year.

"We had a really enjoyable rally, it was a tough day with only one service and no chase car, but the car ran superbly," Cookson said. "We made the wrong tyre choice in the afternoon but we still made it round.

"I always remembered that the speeds in some of the Yorkshire stages like Dalby were incredible, but covering them in the WRC car at speeds of over 120 mph certainly made me grip the wheel that bit tighter.

"We were really pleased to reach the finish and to finish eighth, bagging the top ten result we have been looking for this year. We'd like to thank TEG Sport for their help on the event and to all the crew for their hard work on the car during the break."

Cookson and Wilkinson will return to action in the final round of the National Gravel Rally Championship in three weeks time when they contest the Oswestry-based Bulldog Rally.



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