Fortunes finally change for Collingham's George Lepley and co-driver Tom Woodburn in round three of the British National BTRDA Rally Championship
After a challenging start to the season for the WD-40 rally team, George Lepley was looking for a turnaround of misfortune from the opening two rounds.
A mixture of punctures and gearbox gremlins halted any progress higher up the podium places so far, but there was clear evidence a great result would be on the cards if everything went to plan.
The Mitsubishi Evo X pairing of George and co-driver Tom Woodburn headed to the notoriously fast and flowing stages of the Woodpecker Rally in Shropshire for round three of the British National BTRDA Rally Championship.
With some serious competition on the entry list for the event, George and Tom would need to be on top form to battle against their rivals.
A dry and dusty day lay ahead, with some very fast and smooth stages ready for battle to commence.
The opening pair of stages saw the WD-40 duo return to service in third overall.
“Of course, I am pleased with that. It’s not easy with the dust in places but it’s the same for everyone, let’s see if we can progress up the leader board on the next ones,” said George, of Collingham.
A repeat of the morning two stages lay ahead, totalling 17 miles of competitive action.
The stages were so fast, the GPS datalogger showed a top speed of 140mph, fairly impressive down single track gravel roads in the forest.
George said: “That felt better, I started to believe in the new brakes much more and I think it showed, just trying to be consistent with the braking now but it should be a straight forward next stage.”
After the next stage, the WD-40 pairing had progressed up the leader board to second overall, where there was a comfortable margin to third place and a deficit too large to go for the win with just one final stage to go.
A measured approach to the final stage saw George and Tom return to the finish with second overall.
“I am so pleased to finish second overall with such a strong field of competition,” said George afterwards.
“It has been a great day, the car has ran perfectly and we have had no dramas.
“We were due some luck after the start of the season.
“We just need to keep this form into the next events, the championship is very much still alive.”
With two third place points finishes and the result from this rally, George and Tom are in great shape for the BTRDA and Pirelli Welsh Rally.
The next round of the BTRDA Championship is the fast Trackrod Rally in Yorkshire, where George is looking to continue his form and progress to the top step of the leader board.