Martins’ Wales rally adventure nearly ends in dramatic style

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Motorsport ace Shaun Martin finished the national rally at the Wales Rally GB in a strong position after two days of action in the Welsh Forests.

Rallying along the same stages used by eight-times world champion Sebastian Loeb, the West Chiltington star, with brother Steven as navigator, finished 34th out of 83 cars.

The event started on Friday from the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells with a 51.38-mile leg to the Dyfi Forest complex. After a slow start through Dyfi West, Shaun got in to the swing of things for Dyfi East.

The Gartheiniog leg was slippery and about halfway through, their event nearly ended in dramatic style. They came round a right-hand hairpin bend and the road opened out over a 500m straight into a fast left-hand bend. As the car exited the hairpin, it snapped away from Shaun and headed towards the side of the mountain.

Shaun corrected it and the car turned violently through 180 degrees to face a large drop on the outside of the track.

With a further correction to the steering wheel, speed and angle of the car, it was back on track.

Shaun said: “When the car was facing the bank I reacted and corrected the slide. When it went the other way all we could see was blue sky – I thought ‘here we go’! I’d like to think it was driver skill that got us out of it, however someone was looking down on us.”

The final Friday stage was Dyfnant, affected by thick fog and heavy rain and the duo finished day one 45th.

Day-two conditions were much brighter for a different part of Wales, with the first stage at Hafren. One driver was knocked unconscious and the stage was cancelled.

The next stage was the shortest of the rally. Shaun took a ford flat out in third gear and 150m later the car ground to a halt and wouldn’t start. After a minute-and-a-half it started, but the time lost was very frustrating.

Next was Myherin, which was 17.32 miles long, taking in forest and open moorland. The fast corners allowed the Martins’ tyres to work well.

The crew arrived back in Builth Wells in 34th overall, pleased with their efforts. The event was won overall by international rally driver Roger Duckworth. The Martins’ sponsorship and support came from Team Retro-Speed, G&A Engineering (Horsham) Ltd, Solarwood Energy, Presteigne Tyre Services, Cumbria Heat Logs and Shaun’s wife Helen.