With less than 30 special stage miles left to complete after two and a half days battling through the Welsh forests, 2001 Colin McRae Scholarship winner Mark Wheeler and co-driver Roger Herron suffered an agonising mechanical problem with their 'Super1600' Ford Puma and were forced out of their first ever WRC event while on the verge of cracking the top 40.

In their first ever World Rally Championship event, 2001 Colin McRae Royal Scottish Automobile Club Scholarship winner Mark Wheeler and co-driver Roger Herron saw their dreams of finishing the 2001 Network Q Rally of Great Britain end on the penultimate stage when their Ford Puma cried enough and refused to continue.

24 year old Wheeler and 20 year old co-driver Roger Herron had been lying in an impressive 41st position overall from 61 survivors entering the Special Stage 16, Rhoela 2 early on Sunday afternoon and with just that and the final trip around the historic 17.5 mile Margam Park stage separating them from a thoroughly well deserved finish in their WRC debut, the young Scottish duo had every reason to feel as though their first venture into the Welsh forests would bear fruit despite the cold, wet and muddy conditions.

However in a rally that eventually claimed well over half of its 121 starters, Wheeler/Herron fell victim to an undisclosed mechanical problem approximately half way into Rhoela 2 and were unable to re-fire the car and coax it to the end of the stage. Their retirement was a bitter blow following a calm and mature performance from both men that saw them sitting ninth overall in the A6 'Super1600' class prior to the penultimate stage.

Despite their failure to finish, the respective performances of Wheeler and Herron gave further credit to the Colin McRae scheme, which will be entering its third year in 2002. Designed to help young, aspiring Scottish drivers and co-drivers get a foothold in the rallying world, one eligible driver is eventually selected based on his/her performances in a number of different qualifying events in the Scottish National Rally and Tarmac Rally Championships. Wheeler, who became the first driver to receive National Lottery funding last year, capped his 'winning' season with a runner-up finish in the Pioneer Daihatsu Rally against driver with many years more experience than him.