KENDAL rally co-driver Steve Hartley took part in the final round of the MSA National Tarmac Rally Championship in the Cheviot Keith Knox Stages at Otterburn military ranges.
The event over nine stages and 90 stage miles was the first time 21-year-old Hartley had co-driven with Essex’s John Indri and his Darrian T90 GTR.
As temperatures dropped to minus three the pair dropped to 32nd overall after a very tricky opening two stages for the newly-introduced pair, but over the next loop of stages the sun came out and as the ice began to disappear, Hartley and Indri worked their way up the leaderboard.
By the halfway stage they were up to ninth and just two and a half minutes off the leaders.
Hartley, who a British Rally Championship Challenge co-driver who narrowly missed on the overall championship this year, helped set the six fastest stage times out of the nine stages so that going into the final 14.5-mile event, the pair were one minute and three seconds behind the leader in second overall.
And in an epic comeback, Hartley helped Indri to defeat leaders Simon Chapman and Michael Calvert in their Calvert MG Metro 6R4 by one minute and seven seconds with a storming last round, capping a narrow four-second victory with an overall time of exactly one hour and 26 minutes.