David Kynaston and Andy Russell took third spot and secured the 2008 Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship title on the UTS Cheviot National Rally last weekend - but it was, nevertheless, a nerve-wracking day.

As crews headed for Otterburn, three drivers remained in contention for the title - defending champion Steve Simpson, Kynaston and 2003 MSA Gravel champion David Mann.

Simpson's Hyundai Accent WRC had finished every round so far, whilst his rivals had already posted one retirement each, effectively giving them a score 'in-hand' over the 2007 Cheviot winner.

However, nobody could have foreseen Simpson's early exit from the Cheviot when the Hyundai left the road on the opening stage and, although relatively undamaged, could not be retrieved in time for him and co-driver Andrew Roughead to continue.

Then it was Mann's turn to hit trouble - his Subaru Impreza WRC began to suffer from a slipping clutch and, although he and Alun Cook were able to borrow a replacement unit and in spite of a sterling effort by his service crew to change it, the Impreza was just OTL by the time the job was completed.

That left Kynaston/Russell needing to finish, but not needing to win to take the Championship - one of the most difficult things for a competitive crew to achieve. However, it all came right in the end and the trophy will be heading to Devon for a second time.

For his efforts, Kynaston was also awarded the 'John Price Rallying Star Drive' salver at the Awards Ceremony at Otterburn Hall Hotel.

"A great season for the K-Rally Sport team with a car that attracts a great deal of support throughout the UK," said the Audi A3 quattro man. "We now look forward to the championship next year, which has been improved to bring all of the classic Asphalt events around the UK and Ireland into its 2009 calendar."

Andy Fenwick and Lee Tindall meanwhile took the overall honours in their Skoda Octavia WRC, but this was not without its dramas either.

With a couple of stages to go, the car's rear differential failed leaving them to cruise to the finish at a maximum of 70 mph. Fortunately, they had already built up a sufficient buffer such that the end result was not affected.

Runners-up on the day, after another fantastic run, were Simon Mauger and Brian Cammack in their two-wheel drive Ford Escort RS.

With Simpson retaining second place in the overall Drivers' Championship, Mauger moves up to third, just four points behind him. Cammack, meanwhile, finishes second in the Co-drivers' table.



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