Another gutsy performance from Todd as she navigated Tony Jardine to eighth place in Malton Rally Yorkshire and gained a crucial third signature on her licence.
Peta Todd, Help for Heroes patron and wife to World Champion sprint cyclist Mark Cavendish, competed in her final rally ahead of Wales Rally GB, the finale of the World Rally Championship, in less than two weeks’ time (13-16 November).
After an encouraging 13th place on debut at the Trackrod Yorkshire rally on 27 September; Peta has gone on to take a third in class finish at the Galloway Hills Rally, after recovering from major surgery on a collapsed lung, before returning to Yorkshire to claim a superb eighth place overall in this weekend’s Malton Forest rally.
Helping Peta to achieve success in rallying was Daniel Barritt, currently Britain’s number one rally co-driver, who navigates for Welshman Elfyn Evans in the M-Sport team. Young star Evans in his WRC rookie year has already scored an amazing eight top ten finishes this season, due in no small part to the influence of Barritt. Peta has the best tuition possible.
Clearly, Daniel’s tuition paid off, as Peta was outstanding throughout the six stages of the Malton Forest Rally, guiding Tony through the super-fast Yorkshire forest, finishing ahead of considerably more experienced teams. Although the eighth place could have been a seventh but for Jardine’s ragged performance over the middle stages of the tough event.
“I was all over the place, I nudged a bank, ran wide twice, overshot a hairpin and generally overcooked it. Peta was superb all day and just calmed me down as we put together a great final stage.”
Peta was thrilled to take a large step towards Wales Rally GB; although she was quick to stress that the challenge was far from over: “I’m so relieved to get that third signature; we really couldn’t afford to make any mistakes with Wales Rally GB less than two weeks away, so crossing the finish line felt brilliant, and in eighth as well!
“Obviously now I have to not get carried away, I have my advanced BARS test this week which will be a challenge and I’ll have to be focused for that. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking ahead to Wales now!”
Tony was impressed with his rapidly developing co-driver, and is confident that she will only get better: “Peta has done a remarkable job! In a very short space of time she’s finished all three rallies, 13th on debut, 29th in Scotland and eighth today, which is even more impressive as she was thrown in the deep end four short weeks ago. And on top of that she suffered a collapsed lung after the first rally, got herself well, fought back to fitness, and has showed real determination and strength throughout. Daniel Barritt has now seen the qualities which I think will make us into a great team at Wales Rally GB.”
By completing the Malton Forest rally, Peta has gained the third signature necessary to complete her rallies to date. Although the challenge is far from over for Peta; she still has to complete her Advanced British Association Rally Schools (BARS) test, and an intense navigational course, which she will attempt at the Billy Gwynne Rally School later this week, with Daniel Barritt supporting her throughout. If she passes both tests she will gain her fourth and final signature. Peta will also face a thorough medical including an ECG test which will measure her resting heart rate, before she will be able to attempt her ultimate goal of competing at Wales Rally GB. If she passes all of these tests, she will be off to North Wales to start preparations for the gruelling rally in just over a week’s time.