Marcus Dodd took a record-breaking fourth ANCRO title as he sealed the 2008 Pirelli MSA Gravel Rally Championship crown after winning the final round of the series with Saturday's Bulldog Rally.

With series leader Jon Ingram absent as he cared for his wife following a recent horse riding accident, nothing less than a victory would suffice for Dodd and co-driver Andrew Bargery as the title went right down to the wire.

Needing maximum points in their Hyundai Accent WRC, Dodd and Bargery didn't falter as the crew set the pace from the outset and never looked back, posting fastest times over three of the six stages to win the 65 stage mile event outright and in doing so, added to the title which Dodd won in 2000, 2001 and again in 2007.

In winning the championship by the slenderest of margins - one point - the pair beat the Ford Focus WRC of former champion Steve Perez and co-driver Paul Spooner by 32.2 seconds on the Oswestry-based event with the Subaru Impreza WRC of Julian Reynolds and Patrick Walsh in third.

"It's great to win again and take the record. I'm really grateful to Pete Egerton for lending me the car," said Dodd, whose regular Hyundai cracked a piston on Thursday, so he borrowed customer Egerton's for the event.

"It's been an up and down season but we're here and I'm delighted with today's victory and with the championship win."

However, Dodd had a concerning moment when the right front hub collapsed on the final stage but made it round to claim his third Bulldog Rally win. Reynolds and Walsh also had a heart-stopping moment when their Impreza suffered an engine management problem on leaving the second service.

Nik Elsmore and Craig Drew were fourth in their Mitsubishi Evo 9 after earlier taking a wrong slot on stage one and took the Group N victory in the process.

Irish duo Daniel Barry and Martin Brady claimed fifth in their Mitsubishi Evo 9 after a problem-free run, followed by Neil McCance and Graham Hopewell in their Evo.

Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson were seventh in their Hyundai Accent WRC after a difficult day. They lost their brakes towards the end of stage three before the hydraulics failed, seeing them drop down the order from sixth. Charlie Payne and Jamie Edwards were eighth in their Evo 9 after struggling through the first two stages with a loose wheel bearing as Jonny Greer and Dai Roberts followed them home in their Evo 9.

Scottish crew David Bogie and Kevin Rae wrapped up the honours in the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge and the Production Cup as they finished 10th overall despite having a problem with the brakes early on.

Roger Duckworth and Mark Broomfield had to settle for 11th despite setting the pace on stage two in their Impreza WRC. They also took the wrong turn on stage one but a puncture on stage three put paid to them making up any lost time as they had to stop five miles into the fifteen-mile test to change the tyre, losing around three minutes.

Ford Fiesta crew Kit and Tim Leigh won the Two-Wheel Drives on the event as Andrew Coley and Dan Pearce claimed the class A6 honours in the series in their Peugeot 206. Irishmen Keith Cronin and Greg Shinnors were unfortunate as they retired on stage three after leaving the road whilst in an impressive second place overall in their Evo 9.

In the ANCRO Rally Challenge Dave and Bryan Hull took the honours in their Proton Satria as they finished 41st overall.

The ANCRO Championship will return next year whilst the ANCRO Rally Challenge's final round takes place in two weeks time on the Malton Forest Rally on Sunday 2 November.



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