Darlington rally driver Paul Swift clinched the AS Performance North East Tarmac Rally Championship with a superb top six placing on the Stobart Rail Pendragon Stages held at Warcop army camp in Cumbria at the weekend.
Along with Barnard Castle co-driver Giles Dykes, the pair were set to do battle once again with Chris Anderson and Chris Thirling (Ford Fiesta) following the previous weekend's Lindisfarne Stages on Otterburn whereby Anderson took victory meaning only a handful of points separated the two crews.
In his Motoscope-supported 2.0 litre Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800, the seven times British champion trailed his Bishop Auckland rival by five points knowing a good result was needed in order to take the championship to the final round in November.
Unfortunately, Chris left the road on stage one and was unable to continue meaning Paul could wrap up the championship on this penultimate round but with a number of other contenders still able to score good points, Swift knew he had to secure a good result.
A storming performance in the morning saw Paul in fifth place at the halfway stage and the pair decided to consolidate their position and take fewer risks in the afternoon stages. However, it nearly all went wrong when Swift slid wide on a corner on SS7 and nearly hit a concrete barrier due to worn tyres so with new ones fitted, Paul bounced back on the final stage to secure a top six placing and a class victory which was enough to give him the title.
Paul said afterwards: "I am absolutely delighted to have won the championship, I certainly haven't had it all my own way this year as the competition has been very tough, credit has to go to all the team and our sponsors who without we could not have achieved this."
With Paul now been declared champion for 2012, the remaining positions will be decided at the Keith Knox Cheviot Stages at Otterburn Ranges on November 4th.
Paul would like to thank his sponsors and partners for their help after another successful season in 2012.
Smith and Allan Classic Oils www.smithandallan.com
Smart Independent Financial Advisors www.smartifa.co.uk
Evalu8d learning and development www.evalu8d.com
Carpet Time www.carpet-time.co.uk
Rockliffe Hall www.rockliffehall.com
Other Rally Partners
James Bean Motorsport
Pirelli Tyres www.pirelli.com
Cleveland Motorhomes www.clevelandmotorhomes.co.uk
Welund Training Solutions www.welundtraining.com
Avo Suspension www.avouk.com