Riponian podium but so nearly a Champion win.
Reunited for the first time in over ten years with his 'works' Mitsubishi UK Lancer Evolution IX from the 2006 British Championship, Ryan was aiming to battle with the WRC's and R5 machinery on the Riponian Rally, partnered by his co-driver from that year, Craig Thorley.
Having recently bought the car from Ireland it was a trip into the unknown as the former Group N machine had seen some changes over the years. Whilst still being largely production class based, it now benefits from an uprated engine and Ryan was able to take the lead from the start.
Over the next few stages Ryan managed to build up a fourteen second advantage with just two stages remaining. A knocking developed on the penultimate stage but after a quick check on the road section all seemed to be in order.
Unfortunately just two miles from the end of the final stage, the rear crossmember broke reducing the Lancer to just front wheel drive ironically just before the steepest uphill section of the rally. Champion and Thorley were able to limb through the stage but the twenty seconds lost dropped them to third place at the finish.
Ryan commented, " I am pleased with the speed we've shown on the rally as it is a long time since I have driven the car and there are a number of improvements we can make to it, particularly with the suspension. But, it does hurt to lose a rally win so close to the finish! We'll make those improvements though and be back out with the Mitsubishi later in the year."
Some high speed in car footage from the rally car be found here https://youtu.be/vdnkFjtKTXA