Dan Willan & Niall Frost take emotional first RAC Rally of the Exams win


An emotional Dan Willan was attempting to come back to phrases with the enormity of his ninetieth Anniversary RAC Rally of the Exams win, moments after shaking the champagne together with his good successful navigator Niall Frost. He was fast to reward Niall, however the very first thing he did was to name his spouse to interrupt the implausible information to her and ask her to make room for yet one more trophy so as to add to his not too long ago acquired 2022 Motorsport Information HRCR nationwide Championship Cup that he gained with team-mate Niall Frost. Now they’ve capped that with a win on the large one, The RAC Rally of the Exams, which as Dan added, “makes it an unbelievable 12 months for us, I nonetheless can’t consider it!”

On the Awards ceremony in Torquay, Dan thanked Simon Frost, Niall’s father for the mortgage of the Volvo seven years in the past, “and he hasn’t seen it since!” added Dan.

The Willan/Frost Volvo PV544 gained by two minutes after 4 arduous days which included  28 assessments, 26 regularities and three TC sections, one on Epynt and two at Caerwent.

Paul Dyas and Martyn Taylor, just like the occasion, have been relentless. That they had their noses forward on a few events however their pursuit of the leaders by no means eased. Paul and Martyn have been on it from the Thursday night time Prologue onwards, decreasing a one minute deficit to 24 seconds at one level earlier than Dan and Niall pulled out any stops that have been left to ease forward once more. Paul stated; “We have been pushing actually arduous, but when Dan and Niall may nonetheless pull out that bit additional after we have been on the restrict, then hats off to them, a superb efficiency!”

Paul Crosby and Ali Procter have been completely satisfied to items with their third place within the not too long ago completed Mini Cooper S which didn’t go very effectively on its debut shakedown, the HERO Problem Three, when as Ali stated; “every little thing was incorrect with it!” Crosby has spent two years completely hand constructing the automobile himself, together with all of the welding. Ali; “At one level there was simply the roof, each panel, all of the welding, each final nut and bolt was crafted by Cros, then he has needed to study to drive it in a short while. From HERO Problem Three to RAC Rally of the Exams, he has remodeled the Mini. It’s an incredible outcome for a brand new automobile.”

For HERO-ERA Competitors Director and Clerk of the Course, Man Woodcock, this was his final RAC Rally of the Exams answerable for the most effective occasions in rallying. As he stated on the Awards ceremony, he isn’t going anyplace, however he’s handing over the competitors organisation of this rally to his crew for subsequent 12 months; “It’s time to convey the younger blood in and hold pushing ahead with a contemporary strategy, however I’m certain you’ll be in good fingers with Seren, Andy, George and Nick”.

Nevertheless, Man made certain his ultimate Rally of the Exams was a troublesome one on its 90th RAC anniversary and the twentieth RAC Rally of the Exams with no let up, even on the ultimate day, when he promised a sting within the tail, which was duly delivered.

Man; “Apparently, a number of the prime crews had some points this morning with the identical incorrect slot round a triangle Properly, we’ve all had incorrect slots, drivers not trusting their navigators or the navigators and drivers disagreeing I consider in some circumstances. That wasn’t truly deliberate however they adopted the route themselves, so I’m undecided what occurred, however I did need the anniversary occasion to be a troublesome one, though I consider most crews actually loved the rally.”

Dan Willan was pretty despondent on the first halt on the final day as he and Niall had misplaced a minute, they perhaps thought it was throughout till discovering that their rivals Paul Dyas and Martyn Taylor had achieved the identical factor and misplaced time! Martyn stated; “  Clearly this morning wasn’t an incredible level. It’s not typically I ask Paul to return to take a look at one thing, after which that turned out to be one thing of nothing, in order that was 45 seconds gone. So that you’re your personal errors! We turned out to each be comparatively the identical on time between us as earlier than.”

The roaring success of the 30’s pioneering RAC rallies had echoes within the 2022 anniversary occasion within the type of the 20th RAC Rally of the Exams. Not solely did the opponents from throughout Europe and the USA gown in conventional garments from a time passed by, however they invoked the spirt of camaraderie throughout a extremely powerful rally, as they was. The rally visited nice rally places of the previous and venues which have been used for many years of rallying on the highest ranges. All of the elements have been there to assist make this RAC Rally of the Exams such a memorable expertise for everybody who took half.

From the early mist over the scene of the primary two assessments of the day at Chepstow Race Course, making the going a bit tough at occasions, to the monsoon rain at Glasto in the present day, a becoming tribute to any self respecting music pageant fan, trudging knee deep in mud to see their favorite band on the Pyramid stage, it was all there. The framed construction and soggy floor welcomed the 61 automobiles remaining as  a number of the rallyists fashioned a brand new band, the ‘Misplaced Boys.’ Looking for the appropriate turns across the generally bewildering tracks over the massive Worthy Farm Property at Glastonbury wasn’t simple for some. A regularity gave solution to a check with some very entertaining driving from many.

Some grew to become a little bit over exuberant, and one turned in too early on the incorrect bend, the errant Escort damaging the entrance wing of Clare Grove and Rod Hanson. The disgrace of it was that Clare and Rod’s personal Escort had burnt its clutch out on Epynt they usually had rushed house to choose up their trusty Maestro over night time as a substiute, solely to take successful!

Wiscombe Park Hill Climb was one other difficult venue within the spirit of RAC rallies passed by, the place on the Sunday levels, race tracks and hill climbs that performed host weren’t the same old clear tarmac, however a mixture of November mud and fallen leaves. A slippery cocktail, that was Wiscombe, and everybody cherished the slimy climb. Easy and quick have been Richard Boughton and Elise Whyte, ruing their brake issues which thwarted progress in Epynt the night time earlier than of their BMW.

Tomas de Vargas Machuca was having a ball throwing the HERO-ERA Arrive Drive Fiat 124 Spider round as he completed a effective 6th total and first at school, an incredible outcome given his lack of latest aggressive rallying.

Martyn Taylor gained the Clockwatchers Award for finest navigator over the regularities while Dan Willan gained the Check Pilot Award for the quickest driver over the assessments. All of the three podium sitters obtained becoming rounds of applause on the Awards ceremony however there was main applause for Molly Hardingham who was on her first occasion because the lead hospitality supervisor.

The most important noise nevertheless, was reserved for a particular group, actually there was a standing ovation for the six members of the mechanical help crews or ‘Sweeps,’ who for a lot of, that they had merely saved them within the rally, thanks the their tireless arduous work always of the day and night time.

Paul Dyas; “We can be again subsequent 12 months to attempt to knock them off the perch! However they did an incredible job. Properly achieved to Dan and Niall, they carried out flawlessly all weekend. This occasion was completely a blast for us, a correct rally and it’s the most effective saved secret in British Rallying. Everyone ought to do it!

“It’s completely full on, you may’t clarify and other people don’t consider how aggressive this occasion is.”

Dan, “It was it nerve racking day, and unbelievably, I needed to pressure my lunch down and it was roast beef, my favorite, however I couldn’t actually eat! Yeah, my abdomen was simply in knots all day and driving fastidiously on the assessments to ensure we saved it neat, we simply don’t usually try this!

“It’s been such a troublesome shut rally throughout. We’ve been buying and selling occasions with Paul and Martyn and by no means had any respiration area, both of us. It’s all the time been tight and it’s simply such strain, however Niall has been implausible. The automobile has been implausible, we simply had the little scare with the sheared shocker mount on the axle however the late night time welder sorted that. It is a completely happy, completely happy day.

“It’s been a vastly profitable 12 months, however to prime the championship with the large one, the RAC Rally of the Exams is superb. The primary name I made was to my spouse. She laughed, I laughed, I cried a little bit bit, however what an occasion!”

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