Late decision pays off as Black storms to victory and the title
After taking three maximum points scores in the last three rounds, the Brackley rally driver headed to the event with one eye on the title after securing a finish on the biggest rally in the UK just a few weeks previously, the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier, Dayinsure Wales Rally.
Driving his usual 586 Group backed Ford Fiesta R5, Black; along with co-driver Elliott Edmondson took five stage wins to ensure their year ended in the best possible way.
After narrowly missing out on the BTRDA Rally Championship earlier in the year and taking the runner-up spot in the series, Black made a last minute decision to enter the forest of Dean based event after ensuring the car would be ready after its Rally GB outing.
With Welsh Championship victories at the Plains Rally, Nicky Grist Stages and Woodpecker Stages, despite only entering three rounds of the seven-round series, Black found himself in with a chance of taking the title and headed to Gloucestershire to tackle over 40 stage miles in his DMACK shod Fiesta.
The 26-year-old set the fastest time on the opening two stages and second quickest through the third. Having to run first on the road would make the going tricky for Black, having no lines to follow and suffering from the thickest mud of some 100 crews in the event. Despite a number of spins, Black knuckled down over the second loop of stages and claw back the lost time.
But Black would take it all in his stride and a calculated drive over the remaining stages saw him take the rally win by a margin of almost a minute and was understandably delighted at taking his inaugural event victory.
“It’s been a year of highs and lows for us but to end the season with both a rally win and a national title is just awesome,” said Black.
“I’ve always been that guy who has been so very close to a rally win or major championship but never quite made it stick and it’s a great feeling to have finally sprayed the champagne as the winner and not the runner-up.
“The last half of the season has been a real confidence boost and having Elliott in the car is a key factor in our success, we really do work well together. I wanted to end the year on a high and I think that’s job done!”
After Black’s Wales Rally GB success, he is keen to explore other avenues in 2018 and said: “We have a great car under us and, while it hasn’t got all the latest M-Sport upgrades, it would be nice to think we can contest some bigger events next season.
“We don’t have the budget to test as much as many other guys out there, but I’d really like to give it a go and see what happens. We have some work to do over the winter but I’m really looking forward to next season.”
Black is supported by DMACK Tyres, PFC Brakes, 586 Group and MCR Motorsport Media.