Finishing his first rally on Epynt has given Philip Hopkins a timely boost ahead of his local round of the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship, this Sunday’s Hills Ford Three Shires Stages Rally.
The Bristol driver had retired from a top 10 position on each of his three previous visits to Epynt, but this time reached the finish in his Hopkins Race Transporters-backed Mitsubishi Evo 6.
Despite brake problems on the longer stages, he and co-driver Aled Edwards were 12th overall going into the final stage of The Old Forge Garage Mewla Rally – but unfortunately brake problems returned with a vengeance.
“We had to slow right down as the brake pedal was going to the floor,” recalls Philip.
“We pulled over to let Richard Clews overtake, and in doing so we broke a driveshaft, front hub and cracked a disc, so we were effectively on three wheels for the last four miles of the final stage.”
With the final control at Dixies, just a mile from the end of the last stage, Philip made it to the finish – although the last stage drama had dropped him to 17th position.
In the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship standings, Philip heads to this weekend’s second round 15th in the overall drivers’ points table and third in class B14.
And as family commitments prevent Aled from co-driving on Sunday, Philip will be partnered by former British Truck Racing champion and childhood friend Dave Jenkins.