A COUNTY rally driver once again came away with class victory from the National section of the Dayinsure Wales Rally GB in his 60-year-old car named Bertie.

Sutton St Nicholas driver Bob Beales won his class for the third time in four years in his 1958 VW Beetle.

The event uses the same forestry stages that the World Rally Cars had used causing problems for the Beetle.

“This results in very rough and damaged stages where ruts and holes are 50 times worse than the roads around Herefordshire,” said Beales.

“We were fighting for the class win with another VW. On the run out to the very first stage we had oil problems which resulted in three and half minutes worth of penalties which made the fight for the class even harder.

“After fighting for every second we found out at the final time control we had beaten the opinion by 45 seconds.

“This means that in the last four Rally Wales GB events we have managed three class K1 wins.”

Beales was helped to victory by his Team Colorado crew.

His 60-year-old VW Beetle is becoming renowned in the rally world having previously competed in the Historic Monte Carlo and won the Welsh Historic Championship. There has also been a Scalextric model made of the car.

Hereford rally driver Scott Partridge was less successful after a mechanical failure resulted in him abandoning the main event.

Sitting in second place in class and 40th overall against some of the best drivers in the world it was on the local forest tracks of Sweet Lamb Hafren that Partridge came into trouble.

“We were in the spectators bowl and went over two big jumps when I selected second gear and lost all of the drive as the gear box had blown up,” said Partridge.

“We were planning on having a big push on Saturday for the lead in our class. It was disappointing, but that’s rallying.”

Partridge has gone back to work as a chef for luxurious yacht MY Leander in Monaco.

The Dayinsure Wales Rally GB was eventually won by reigning world champion Sebastian Ogier on the way to another win.

Saturday was the longest day of the rally with crews on the road for more than 15 hours and heavy overnight rain had made conditions very slippery.

Ogier enjoyed a fantastic stage on Saturday around Myherin, Hafren and Newtown – right on the English border – which would help propel the five-time World Rally Championship titlist to victory.

Ott Tanak was dominating the rally going into the stages, and when Thierry Neuville looked to attack the Estonian, he slid off the road in Hafren and needed the assistance of spectators to get him back on.

The incident saw the Belgian lose 51 seconds and drop to eighth – and Ogier was the man to take advantage, climbing from fifth to second during the stage’s morning section.

But it was the second run through Hafren that turned the rally on its head, when Tanak hit a rut in the Sweet Lamb section of the stage with such force that it broke the sump guard and forced him to retire.

Frenchman Ogier hit the front and, going into Sunday’s final leg, held a four-second lead, which he extended in the finale to triumph by 10.6 seconds.