McCormack holds his nerve to win BRC’s 2009 C2R2 Cup
Marty McCormack and Phil Clark are the 2009 British Rally Championship C2R2 Cup/Citroën Racing Trophy Champions, having taken eleventh place on this weekend’s Rallye Le Touquet Pas de Calais.

The result also reinforces the young Northern Irishman’s place in the Pirelli Star Driver Shootout this week, having merely to finish the event to secure both the overall and Junior titles.

The battle on the three day French Championship event was between McCormack and Jason Pritchard/Andrew Edwards, the 21year old Welshman’s chance of the title relying on McCormack’s retirement.

However this did not detract from the great scrap that ensued on the stages near the French resort base. The opening stage along the seaside town’s blustery promenade fell to McCormack, eking a 1.3 second advantage on the short spectator test.

He opened the gap on the next stage but Pritchard had a push on stage three, leaving him ahead at the first overnight halt. The Welshman had problems of his own though, struggling with unused but old rubber on his C2R2 Max.

Saturday’s first wet stage saw Pritchard pull out another forty seconds after McCormack’s windscreen misted up, keeping ahead of the Ulsterman for another two stages before a charge saw him back ahead. A return to the Le Touquet stage saw the positions reversed once more though, Pritchard moving four seconds in front after the second running of the promenade stage.

The excitement rose as Saturday afternoon progressed, McCormack and Pritchard taking turns to win stages as the Ulsterman suffered an intermittent misfire. But McCormack ended the second leg ahead again, the gap standing at seventeen seconds despite the unresolved electrical fault.

Sunday’s opening stage was sadly the last for Pritchard who left the road, landing in a garden whilst on a charge to close the gap to McCormack. Although undamaged, the two wheel drive car could not be recovered to the stage within the time allowed, so the young Welshman’s hope of retaining his 2008 crown was dashed.

McCormack and Clarke were left to cruise to the end, but with the pressure of having to get to the finish unscathed lifted, they continued to set competitive times, eventually ending the event in eleventh place overall.

At the finish on Le Touquet’s promenade the team’s supporters, who had all made the trip across two bodies of water to be there, cheered as loudly as for the event’s overall winner.

A delighted McCormack said at the finish, “It was really difficult to know how hard to push, as we just needed to finish to secure the title, but having Jason there made it very tempting to have a scrap. I already had a place at the Star Driver shootout, but I really wanted to win the Citroëns.” Concluding, “It has been a great season and this was a tough event to end the year.”

The result means that after dropping their worst score, McCormack and Clarke have a perfect end of season score of 110 points, having taken victory on all but the opening round. They also return to Draperstown €5,000 better off, courtesy of finishing an impressive second in the French Citroën Racing Trophy.

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