Sloan Cox has won the 2017 Motul Possum Bourne Motorsport Ashley Forest Rallysprint. Cox, driving a Hillclimb Special Evo 8, set the fastest winning time of 55.30 seconds, easily beating three time winner and local driver Matt Summerfield (56.51 seconds).
“It’s great to get the win,” commented Cox. “It’s been on my ‘to-do’ list this year so great to tick that one off.”
Top favourite World Rally Championship driver Hayden Paddon clearly displayed that he would be the quickest driver but faulted on the second day with engine problems with his Hyundai i20 AP4++ car. Paddon was quickest throughout Saturday’s four qualifying runs and was heading to break Sloan Cox’s record of 55.23 set in 2016. Having been the main draw card for the many spectators that turned up, Paddon was clearly disappointed on Sunday after having to retire out of the competition, while looking at a potential sub 54 second time.
This left Cox and Summerfield (Mitsubishi Mirage) well ahead of the other main contenders including Michael Tall (Mitsubishi Mirage), Matt Penrose (Subaru WRX), Chris West (Mitsubishi Mirage), Richard Baddock (Subaru WRX) Jason Clark (Mitsubishi EVO 5) and Sean Haggerty (Subaru WRX).
After qualifying, which found the top 32 drivers, the eliminations begun finding the fastest 16 then the above top eight quickest drivers.
At this stage Cox was over a second quicker than Summerfield who in turn was over two seconds quicker than the other six drivers.
Following the next elimination round the remaining four were Cox, Summerfield, Baddock and Tall.
Cox set a blistering time of 54.96 seconds, a new record, followed by Summerfield (57.49) and Tall (58.57) with Baddock crashing out.
The final was to be a repeat of 2016 between Cox and Summerfield. A year ago Summerfield won that final after Cox had to retire after a loss of power in his final run. This time Summerfield set his fastest time up and down the hill (56.51) but Cox went even faster with a time of 55.30 seconds.