by Geoff Mayes

Andrew Hockridge scored a dominant class win on his home event, the Bulldog Rally last weekend, taking five stage wins en-route to a final winning margin of over 2 minutes at the end of the 65 stage mile rally.

Hockridge was using the Oswestry-based event as an extended test ahead of the final round of the 2008 Citroen C2R2 Cup, the Wales Rally GB in December. Furthermore despite only limited mileage on gravel in the car the Pwllheli resident was in fine form, revelling in the tricky conditions, powering his GRH Foods-backed Citroen through the opening stage, Dyfnant 1, an incredible 27 seconds faster than his nearest rival. This trend continued throughout the day with the Geoff Jones Motorsport C2R2 never missing a beat.

Ironically Hockridge had been hoping for rain as he was keen to experiencing driving the Gino's Pizza Cheese supported car in slippery conditions. His wish was granted when Wales received its daily rainfall as he headed out to the final loop of stages.

If anything the youngster felt he drove better in the tricky conditions, taking an amazing 35 seconds out of his nearest class rival on the penultimate stage alone. A clean sweep of stage wins was on the offering but when he picked up a puncture 4 miles from the end of the second run through Dyfnant he backed off and drove cautiously to the finish, doing well to only lose 8 seconds from his lead.

"This weekend was all about learning the cars characteristics on typical Welsh forest roads, and if anything I had a better feeling here than I did on the Trackrod a couple of weeks ago," he reflected.

"At the beginning of this year I was happy to be near the times set by some of these A6 cars, and so to now be beating them regularly is a big boost to my confidence! The car was faultless all day long and now I really cannot wait for Wales Rally GB."

Hockridge and co-driver Rich Mills will next be in action on Wales Rally GB, which counts as the final two points scoring rounds of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship. They currently lead the C2R2 Cup and with all to play for on the season finale it is sure to be action packed.

The Wales Rally GB will also mark Hockridge's World Rally Championship debut which will see him competing over the same stages as the top rally drivers in the world.



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