THERE was success for not one, but two County Durham drivers at the weekend with the region claiming outright honours on two major rallies.

Leading the way on Saturday was Hamsterley’s Stephen Petch, who along with Tow Law co-driver Michael Wilkinson took victory on the Malcolm Wilson Rally based in the Lake District, whilst Crook driver David Henderson and Welsh co-driver Sion Cunniff claimed the win on Sunday’s Northside Truck and Van Donington Stages Rally.

Former BTRDA champion Petch was contesting the opening round of this years’ series in the SG Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 and after 45 miles in the classic Cumbrian forests including Greystoke and Grizedale, saw off fellow Durham resident Ian Bainbridge and co-driver Will Atkins in their Skoda by just 16 seconds.

Other notable performances included Ripon’s Charlie Payne and Welsh co-driver Carl Williamson who brought their Ford Fiesta home in 15th overall with Potto driver Andy Davison and co-driver Tom Murphy claiming 35th overall and third in class in their Talbot Sunbeam. Steve Petch from Scorton along with Northallerton co-driver Ian Windress finished 43rd overall in their Ford Fiesta WRC, four places ahead of South Kilvington’s Nick Kitching and co-driver Andrew Trollope who took seventh in class in their Ford Escort.

But there was heartbreak for Ripon teenager Elliot Payne who was challenging Petch for the lead when the Ford Fiesta he was sharing with Patrick Walsh suffered suspension damage on SS4 which led to retirement.

Meanwhile on the latest round of the Motorsport News MSVR Circuit Rally Championship, Henderson took his second victory in as many rounds to lead from start to finish and win at Donington Park by over half a minute in his Mercury Motorsport-prepared Ford Fiesta R5.

Spennymoor’s Stephen Sawley and co-driver Rob Johnson claimed 20th overall and fourth in class in their Ford Escort with Thirsk co-driver Charlotte Wainright guiding Kay Thompson to a fine 44th overall and third in class in their Nissan Micra.