A broken driveshaft on the final stage denied Duns rally driver Euan Thorburn of one of the best results of his rallying career to date.
Euan, and co-driver Paul Beaton from Inverness, took part in the Ypres Rally in Belgium, the fifth round of the 2015 European Rally Championship.
Back behind the wheel of their Ford Fiesta S2000, they were up against very strong opposition including current WRC works drivers, ex-WRC works drivers, a nine times Ypres winner, the Belgium Rally Championship leader as well as the regular ERC competitors.
Day one of the rally consisted of two loops of stages, one of four stages and the second of three. In the baking heat the pair didn’t seem to be doing too bad from the times, holding position and enjoying the fast stages although Euan commented: “We were pushing on as best we can, but our notes were not as detailed as we would have liked and we lost some time by under and over braking.”
Day two saw nearly twice as many stages and stage miles, consisting of ten stages. Some homework was done on the notes late into the evening and early morning to make the best of those they had. This hard work paid off with the pair climbing to 12th for much of the day, then increasing the pace with the confidence and climbing to ninth in the closing stages of the event.
Unfortunately, as Euan and Paul were pushing for eighth place overall on the last and longest stage of the rally, one of the Fiesta’s driveshafts broke leaving the crew to limp to the end of the stage losing a minute and a half and dropping to 12th, still a very credible position on their Ypres Rally debut.
I think we were all surprised with the pace to begin with, but we got quicker as the rally went on and were learning corner by corner.Euan Thorburn
As the pair reached the finish ramp to mark the end of the rally they were greeted by group after group of enthusiastic local’s ‘buzzing’ on their performance, with some of them commenting “You turned the spectators into a football crowd every time you passed”, and “We enjoyed your driving style this weekend, like Colin McRae!”
Euan said: “It’s been a great rally all round. I think we were all surprised with the pace to begin with, but we got quicker as the rally went on and were learning corner-by-corner. I am overwhelmed by the support we received not just from back home but from the locals too, it’s been amazing, thank you to to them all!”
The team and car are now home and are already trying very hard to raise the budget to compete on another round of the ERC, to allow them to continue rallying at this level.
The rally was won by Belgian Freddy Loix in the new Skoda Fabia R5, his tenth career win at the event.