Darlington rally driver Paul Swift saw his hopes of a good result disappear on the very last stage of this weekend's Jim Clark National Rally but in the end was counting his blessings as he managed to limp to the finish.
Along with Cumbrian co-driver Edwin Cook, the pair were showing good pace in their Motoscope-backed 2.0 litre Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800 and after a steady start around the streets of Duns in the Scottish Borders on Friday evening, they gradually climbed the leaderboard yesterday and by SS7, they were up to 17th overall and third in class.
However, drama struck on the very next stage as Swift recalls: "All seemed to be going fine when the alternator belt broke and sent the engine temperature soaring. We had no alternative but to stop in stage and take the alternator off and because we didn't have a spare belt with us, it was a case of tying a shoelace around it to work the water pump. It was a very crude method but it worked and we were able to limp back to the finish so it just goes to show that it's never over till the fat lady sings. But talk about rallying on a 'shoestring', we've taken that to a new level this weekend!"
Despite the setback, the seven times British Champion managed to bring the car home in 45th place overall and ninth in class but didn't manage to increase his championship position in the REIS-Get Connected MSA Asphalt Rally Championship.
Paul would like to thank his sponsors and partners for their help and looks forward to another successful season in 2012.
Photo: Pete Jones