ANDY Marchbank was once again left to rue what might have been after his latest outing in the British Trial Drivers Rally Championship.
The professional co-driver from Little Sutton guided driver Hugh Hunter, of Ruthin, through the challenging Malcolm Wilson Rally in the Lake District.
Although the pair finished a highly respectable fourth overall in the their Ford Focus WRC, they were once again dogged by bad luck – just as they had been in their previous outing at the Wyedean Forest Rally.
A stall on the start line of stage one left Marchbank and Hunter playing catch-up, then matters got even worse when a fast approach into a tight left-hander saw their car drop into a hole and lose its bumper.
Luckily, the damage was only cosmetic and the crew battled on, setting a string of quick times only to lose more valuable time on the following stages with yet more stalls.
Going into the last stage, Marchbank and Hunter were just two seconds down on the third overall position and top in their class. But another stall on the start line handed the advantage to their rivals, leaving the pair to settle for fourth overall.
Marchbank said: “After all the mistakes, I honestly thought we were fifth so this is a great result.
“It means we have now got some solid points in the bag.”
He added: “Our main problem is the stalls. The car is much more advanced than the old Escort and has a launch control system on it like on F1 car, and Hugh is finding it quite hard to get used to. The slightest touch of the button at the wrong time means the engine just dies, losing us about 10 seconds every time.”
Marchbank reckons he and Hunter lost almost 50 seconds due to stalling.
“That’s disappointing when you think that we would have come away with top points,” he said. “We have now got to get the car sorted for the next event in North Yorkshire in three weeks’ time and hope that we can get rid of this stalling problem.”