After a mid season setback of a bad landing from a jump and a broken car at the Swansea Bay Rally, the crew needed to produce two wins on the last two rounds to claim the title, a tall order against opposition with a much more powerful car.
Coley and Pearce did not disappoint, first with a class win on the Trackrod Rally of Yorkshire, and then with a fantastic class victory in North Wales on the Bulldog National Rally to secure the title.
Whilst the sun shone in the morning, the recent damp weather presented extremely tricky conditions for the crews on the gravel forest stages around Dolgellau. The morning loop of stages before first service would be decisive and the APCsport crew struck immediately.
Taking a respectable four second lead on the first nine mile stage, the Bexhill crew devastated the opposition by taking a 27 second advantage on the second 13 mile stage, more than two seconds a mile faster. At first service they held a lead of more than 30 seconds despite a deficit of 90bhp to the rival crew.
Coley said: “We knew we had to strike early and I'd been fired up for the event ever since the result in Yorkshire . We absolutely flew through the first two stages but the size of the gap surprised even us. We had plenty of moments but that's normal when you're on the limit.”
Stage three was a sixteen mile twisty typical welsh stage, literally over a mountain in Snowdonia. Even with a small off when Coley braked too late for a “2 Right” (second gear right hand bend) the crew set a time which secured their lead, though the events that followed would ensure they won the championship anyway.
On the road section following the third stage, the Bexhill crew found their rival stranded with no drive, a broken gearbox from pushing too hard to catch up with the APCsport lads. In a very sporting gesture, Andrew nudged the APCsport Peugeot 206 into the back of their rivals' car and tried to push them back to the emergency service area, not knowing at the time that the problem was terminal.
Rain set in for the afternoon and made the forest roads lethally slippery, but a faultless performance from driver Andrew Coley and co-driver Dan Pearce ensured that they would return to Bexhill, known as the Birthplace of British Motorsport, with a national rally title to their name.
Dan Pearce commented: “We're over the moon to win the national title, it's a great reward for the hard work of everyone involved with the APCsport team.”
APCsport would like to thank everyone who has assisted them this year, especially Kumho Tyres, Millers Oils, M-tech Bodyshop, Langleys Automotive and Motorhaven Peugeot.
APCsport's plans for next year are undecided, but with a national title and increasing TV coverage the team hopes to secure sponsorship to continue the success story!
APCsport are grateful for the support provided by the following companies in 2008: