In only his second Tarmac rally in his Hippo Motor Group-backed ŠKODA Fabia R5, Tom Preston set a fastest stage time, beat the Bogey on three stages and finished fourth overall on the Tyneside Stages – which took place over the high-speed bumpy roads of Otterburn.
Co-driven by Jack Morton, the 35-year old driver from Earby in Lancashire recovered from a broken flat shift and spin on SS1 to set the fastest time on SS2. Having moved to fourth, two mistakes on the final two stages denied Tom a podium position – although he was quite rightly pleased with his performance.
Work commitments prevent Tom contesting the John Mulholland Motors Ulster Rally, although the Tyneside Stages was excellent preparation for the final round of the MSA British Rally Championship, the Rally Isle of Man (September 15-17).
“The event didn’t start great as the flat shift broke on stage one and we also had a spin, we managed to pull it together on stage two to set a fastest over all time which put us fourth overall after the first loop of stages. We had a good run in the afternoon and the Bogey times on three of the stages but made two mistakes on the last two stages meant that we were not to move from fourth.
“Overall I am really happy with the performance from last weekend, it’s only the second time out in Tarmac in the car plus we missed the recce on Saturday so to finish fourth overall and also set a fastest time and beat three Bogey times is encouraging against some drivers that have done the event many times before. I feel that we can go faster still which is promising and I am now really looking forward to the Isle of Man rally next month.”