Damian Cole beat his main rival on the final round of the series, the Cheviot Stages Rally on Otterburn, but in an odd turn of events the score to drop rule meant that he missed out on his seventh National Asphalt Rally Championship by just one point.
Damian took an 11-point advantage into the final round, which was held over the fast and technically tricky single-track roads of a freezing cold military range in Northumberland.
With local co-driver Andrew Roughead reading the pace notes, Damian pushed hard on the opening stage to set the fastest time – which would secure him the title in the event of it going to a tiebreak.
With a high score to drop at the end of the day, Damian needed to press on and score well, although a problem with his Get Connected/Energizer-backed Fiesta RS WRC’s gearbox was to deny him the all-important rally victory.
Whilst he finished second overall, one place ahead of his nearest title rival, a season of consistently high scoring finishes meant that the lowest score he could drop was 25 points – and this was enough to deny Damian his seventh title, by just one point.
“I’ll be back to try for the Asphalt Championship win number seven next year.” said Damian.