Former winners Tony Thompson and Jon Dunning claimed victory on Sunday's Pickering-based Malton Forest Rally.

Darlington driver Thompson and co-driver Dunning, who last won the event in 2005, finished with a one minute 17 second advantage over second-placed Steve Petch and John Richardson in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 on the Malton Motor Club and Selby DMC rally.

Richmond's Petch and Northallerton's Richardson, who won in 2004, came home one minute 17 seconds in front of the Mitsubishi Evo 8 of Tyneside pair Tony Arnsby and Chris Purvis in their Hyundai Accent WRC.

Ripon driver Charlie Payne and York co-driver Craig Thorley took charge at the top of the leaderboard by stage three in their Mitsubishi Evo WRC ahead of last year's winners Dave Weston and Dave Robson in their Ford Focus WRC.

But Weston/Robson edged ahead after stage four, Langdale 1, with Thompson/Dunning third. The Scottish duo remained at the top until stage seven, Gale Rigg 2, when they bowed out with a mechanical problem handing Thompson/Dunning the advantage that they would hold until the finish.

The highest finishing local crew was Sand Hutton's Jeff McNeil and York co-driver Fred Roberts in their Subaru Impreza as they finished fifth.

The 45-mile forest gravel event saw a record entry of 79 cars battle it out for various honours across technical stages in Cropton, Gale Rigg, Langdale and Pickering Showground with a high rate of attrition given the constant downpour of rain, that made for wet and slippery stages.

"The event's yet again been a success and we're really pleased to have had a record entry this year, it proves the rally is becoming increasingly popular," said clerk of the course, Graham Harper. "It was a good day and I'd like to thank everyone involved right across the board including the organisers, marshals and competitors.

"The wet weather caused a few problems but unfortunately we can't control that but it's gone well."

The first Malton Motor Club crew home was Curly Haigh and Sally Peacock who were 17th overall in their Mk1 Escort whilst Bedale driver Charlie Taylor and Pickering co-driver Steve Bielby took the Motoscope Rally Equipment award for the highest finishing two-wheel drive Ford Escort Mk1 or Mk2 in their Mk2 as they were 14th.

Sally Peacock also took the Christine Francis Memorial award for the highest finishing Malton Motor Club co-driver.

The MFR will return in November 2009.



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