DURSLEY rally driver Peter Hedges triumphed in his class at the Red Dragon I.T. Stages Rally.

Stonehouse-based EMCOS motor club ran the event, which was the third round of the Kingsway Heart of England Rally Championship.

Running for possibly the last time at the former RAF base at Down Ampney near Cirencester due to approved planning consent, the 79 competitors that started had their work cut out from the off.

The rally ran on a mixture of smooth and broken concrete in and around the base.

As the heavens opened for the first eight mile stage, gaining grip was going to be the order of the day.

With ten stages and 60 competitive stage miles ahead, Hedges and co-driver Michelle Brooks-Olpin from Stroud guided their Opel Manta to 16th position overall after the first loop of four stages despite the increasing surface water, meaning many crews were having problems just staying on the track.

By early afternoon the sun had come out and the conditions started to dry out slightly, giving the higher powered machines a chance to gain some time advantage.

However, after consistently setting times in the top 20 all afternoon Hedges managed to finish the day 18th overall with a time of 102 minutes, 39 seconds, taking the class D win for vehicles over 2000cc, a respectable 15 minutes and 20 seconds behind eventual rally winners Martin and Dawn England from Taunton in their high spec four wheel drive Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.