Woodhouse and Rowland win dramatic Imperial Commercials Donington Rally
The Donington Park motorsport season started in style on Sunday (5 March) with a dramatic Imperial Commercials Donington Rally, which was won by the Ford Escort of Ian Woodhouse and Paul Rowland.
The rally had been dominated from the start by Alan Kirkaldy and Cameron Fair’s Escort, but for the second successive year, the duo were denied victory after coasting to a halt on stage six of the eight stage event.
Kirkaldy had led by over a minute at the halfway point of the rally, and looked to be heading for an overwhelming victory after mastering the tricky wet track conditions. But his retirement saw the lead battle ignite with Woodhouse and Rowland just five seconds ahead of the Escort of Martin Hodgson and Tony Jones at the end of stage six.
Woodhouse added four seconds to his advantage on the penultimate stage and eventually secured victory by just 10 seconds over Hodgson and Jones, his second successive win at this event. The Proton Satria of Graeme Bell and Russ Radford completed the top three after usurping the Steve Quigley/Peter Littlefield Renault Clio on stage seven.
The wet conditions proved tricky for even the most skilled of drivers, with Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship leader Paul Swift, a TV stunt man, spinning out on the very first stage at the Melbourne Hairpin.
The next event at Donington Park is the Season Launch event for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with free public entry from 12.30pm. For more information click here.
Thanks to Scherer Race and Rally news for the event information.
Image credit Malcolm Almond