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SIMPSON TAKES NATIONAL TITLE; City rally star wins Fiesta class.

Byline: PAUL SNOWDON Sports Reporter

LIVERPOOL can boast of another national sporting champion following the success of rally driver Tony Simpson.

The city-based motorsport star sealed the Fiesta Sport Challenge crown on the dramatic final round of the British Rally Championships.

And the thrilled Liverpudlian has spoken of his amazement at winning the prestigious title.

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Simpson said: "The delight at finally winning a big championship is an amazing feeling.

"It's been a great championship and it's nice to finally tick this box after a number of years competing in one-make series."

The all-important races took place on the Trackrod Rally in North Yorkshire.

Simpson, who had focused on securing the single make Ford Fiesta Championship this season - a series for the successful Ford Fiesta ST group N rally car - entered the final round of the British Rally Championship Challenge with a four point lead.

The crew's first stage in the tricky Dalby Forest complex was last Friday night in the dark.

Posting third fastest time overall, Simpson had built up enough of a buffer over the 14 mile stage.

Guided once again by his highly-experienced Cambridgeshire-based co-driver Robin Hernaman, the pair went into the Saturday stages just focusing on consolidating their place in the rally in order to secure both championships.

The now well-known Delivered on Time-supported Fiesta - recognised by the huge orange dots on the rear of the car - never missed a beat all rally after the AVS Motorsport staff had focused on giving Simpson a vehicle that would finish the rally with no mechanical dramas.

Simpson had slipped to fourth overall in the rally after the opening loop of stages taking in the six miles of Gale Rigg and nine miles of Cropton on the Saturday morning, but the Liverpudlian was told to hold station at the first service in order to secure the championship and not chase for a podium.

The fast nature of the final stage in Langdale only encouraged Simpson to push on, and he clinched third overall and the final podium place on the rally bringing the end to a near-perfect race and 2012 season.

A delighted Simpson said: "We've worked so hard this year to try and learn the car and build some confidence while consistently scoring points to help us achieve our goal of winning a national level championship.

"We have come so close in the past only to lose out on the final stages of a rally. So there was zero complacency in the car and we were listening out for the slightest noise.

"Thankfully our Seacon UK-supported Fiesta ST was bulletproof this weekend and the delight at finally winning a big championship is an amazing feeling.

"Our team and the guys at Rydal Gym who have looked after me have all worked so hard to helping us do this and I cent thank them enough it's a very special moment.

"To pinch back third on the final stage to give us a podium overall on the rally was the icing on the cake.

"The weekend has been great - you genuinely forget how fast the roads in Yorkshire are. It rewards the brave and we have tried to compromise between being sensible and bring brave. We were rewarded on Friday night and took a big lead, so it was just a matter of being sensible on Saturday and keeping my big rival Adam Taylor at arm's length.

"It's been a great championship and it's nice to finally tick this box after a number of years competing in one-make series. As with any season there has been some ups and downs and we didn't think we could continue after the engine went on Jim Clark but thanks to M-Sport - who came to the rescue - we were able to get back out there. The Ford Fiesta ST is a great car and today I think we have finally done it a little bit of justice."

? PLANS for the 2013 season are now underway and as ever the team are working towards finding the budget to contest the British Rally Championship again. More information on how commercial partners can get involved can be found on Simpson's official website www.simpsonrallying.com

CAPTION(S):

CHAMPS: Tony Simpson (left) and co-driver Robin Hernaman celebrate their rally success
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 5, 2012
Words:712
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