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Circuit Rally Championship signals start of Snetterton motor racing season

PUBLISHED: 10:51 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:51 14 February 2018

Downham Market's Stephen Tilburn pressing on in his Ford Escort Mk2 on his way to sixth overall last year. Picture: M and H Photography

Downham Market's Stephen Tilburn pressing on in his Ford Escort Mk2 on his way to sixth overall last year. Picture: M and H Photography

Archant

The Snetterton Stages, a round of the prestigious Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship, opens the Norfolk circuit’s busy season on Sunday.

Cromer’'s Mark Annison struggled home in last place in the 2017 event and hopes for a better time this year with his Ford Puma. Picture: M and H PhotographyCromer’'s Mark Annison struggled home in last place in the 2017 event and hopes for a better time this year with his Ford Puma. Picture: M and H Photography

Mark Kelly and Andy Baker are fresh from success at the previous round at Brands Hatch and the Ford Escort Mk2 crew are aiming for a repeat in an effort to close in on the championship-leading Chris West/Keith Hounslow crew.

The West/Hounslow Peugeot 306 Maxi team will take some beating as West knows his way around Snetterton, having tasted success last year with Steven Cox sitting in the navigator’s seat.

However, the fastest crew at last year’s event were Bruce Edwards and Jim Smith with their Darrian T9, who suffered early mechanical issues dropping them out of contention, but Joshua and Tamsyn Davey, with a similar car, could shake up the order on Sunday.

The Downham Market Ford Escort Mk2 crew of Stephen and Jack Tilburn may well be able to rattle the leading contenders as they aim to retain the honour of the leading local crew from last year’s event when they finished in a fine sixth place.

Harleston driver Aaron Rix was a Class A podium finisher last year and will be aiming for a repeat in Sunday'’s event with a Ford Ka. Picture: M and H PhotographyHarleston driver Aaron Rix was a Class A podium finisher last year and will be aiming for a repeat in Sunday'’s event with a Ford Ka. Picture: M and H Photography

Last year only two all-wheel drive cars made the top 10, with Robert Swann’s Subaru S12B WRC leading the way. But after taking the category honours at the Kent venue last month John Stone, with his Ford Fiesta NRC, would like a repeat. Stone will face strong opposition from a trio of Mitsubishi Evos, led by the Long Stratton crew of William and Stuart Moore, while a host of Subaru Imprezas will keep the local pair on their toes.

The Rix family from Harleston will also be hoping for success with Aaron aiming to better than third place in Class A last year thanks to the courage of navigator Anna Greenhill, who broke her arm in a fall minutes before the final stage, but still strapped herself into their MG ZR to secure the position.

Father Ian will be looking to improve upon last year’s result in his Class C Ford Escort Mk2 while Cromer’s Mark Annison will be hoping for a cleaner run that last year when he had to work hard to record a finish.

Ninety crews tackle the eight-stage event, beginning at 9am, with the latter two sections taking place as the light fades making for a spectacular finish to the opening event of the Snetterton season.

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