Along with Welsh co-driver Carl Williamson, the Lancastrian was again in action in the Legend Fires Skoda Fabia WRC and following the disappointment of a late retirement on the Legend Fires North West Stages last month the pair were keen to make amends on the Welsh military ranges near Llandovery.
However, things didn’t get off to a great start with a ten second penalty infringement at MC1 but soon the pair were into their stride, setting sixth fastest time on the opening stage before going fourth fastest on SS2 to elevate themselves to fourth overall.
The next couple of stages were affected by accidents meaning notional times were awarded on SS3 and SS4 scrapped altogether but over the final three stages, the pair in the Dom Buckley Motorsport IRS-prepared car set about climbing the leaderboard.
Fifth fastest times on all three tests saw them secure a fine fourth place finish, albeit over a minute and a half behind the winner but nonetheless, it was a huge improvement on John’s tenth place finish on last year’s season opener.
John Stone: “That’s my best result on Epynt as it’s never been too kind to me and it’s also the best ever start to our championship. We had no major problems at all and the only issue was me not being too familiar with the final couple of stages which were run in the opposite direction to what I’m used to so I couldn’t commit as I would have liked. We knew it would be hard to keep up with the three in front of us but it’s a great result and gives us a very positive start to the season with some important points. We are now looking forward to the Manx Rally in a couple of months although I plan an outing somewhere between now and then to try to stave off any rustiness!”
Results – 2014 Tour of Epynt
1 Damian Cole/Elliot Edmondson – Ford Focus WRC – 52:56
2 Peter Lloyd/Neil James – Subaru Impreza – 52:57
3 Stephen Simpson/Patrick Walsh – Subaru Impreza WRC – 53:01
4 John Stone/Carl Williamson – Skoda Fabia WRC – 54:37
5 Robert Swann/Darren Garrod – Subaru Impreza – 55:08
6 John Indri/Peter James – Subaru Impreza WRC – 55:41
7 Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack – Ford Escort Mk11 – 56:08
8 Bob Fowden/Ashley Trimble – Subaru Impreza – 56:09
9 Darren Atkinson/Phil Sandham – Ford Escort Mk2 – 56:13
10 Roger Moran/Joy Hoyle – Ford Escort Mk2 – 57:03
Pictures: John Stone and Carl Williamson in action on the 2014 Tour of Epynt in the Legend Fires Skoda WRC (pictures courtesy of http://www.RallyGallery.com)