The Rainworth Skoda Dukeries Rally was won by Ashley Field and Ryan Vickers in their Darrian T90 GTR+ in the most dramatic style.
They entered the final stage in fourth place and following the retirement of the leading car, and by setting a stage time 16 seconds faster than their nearest rival they won the event by nine seconds.
The rally was making at return to the Donington Park circuit for the first time since 1970. A large crowd was treated to a full entry of 80 modern and historic rally cars. The event was a round of three regional rally championships and a competitive day’s motorsport was eagerly-anticipated.
Jason Lepley and Howard Pridmore set the early pace in their Ford Escort RS recording fastest time by four seconds on the first stage but their rally came to an abrupt end on stage two with electrical problems.
David and Alice Tinn took up the running in their Proton Satria, setting five fastest stage times during the day only to retire on the last stage with engine failure.
Dukeries club members were in early troubles with Paul Rees and Paul Briggs having an oil leak in their Astra GTE and Jack Atherton/Chris Lineker damaging their Peugeot 205.
Ray Read/Stuart Anderson-Peters made a long trip up from Bournemouth only to retire their historic Audi Quattro on the first stage with a blown turbo.
The real drama came on the eighth and final stage which was run in total darkness. David/ Alice Tinn were leading the event by 28 seconds and seemingly home and dry as Fields/Vickers were down in fourth place.
However, as the Tinns approached the Wheatcroft Straight the engine in their Satria failed and they had to retire. Ashley attacked the stage in the darkness and recorded a stage time 16 seconds faster than his rivals and so took victory by nine seconds.
Class winners were Emma Bennison/ Paul Webb (Nissan Micra), Andrew Saunders/ Steve Griffin (Citroen AX), Richard Bliss/ Jamie Vaughan (Honda Civic), Martin Hodgson/ Tony Jones (Ford Escort) and Nigel Mummery/ Fiona Scarrett (Ford Focus WRC).
Dukeries Club member and long-time supporter of the event Brian Bell brought his Ford Focus WRC home in 15th place.
Event sponsors Simon Beckett and Jon Atherton brought home their Skoda Fabia Vrs in 37th place. There were other creditable performances by club crews Craig Stevens/ Dave Simmons came 39th in a Ford Fiesta two places ahead of John Stevens/ Stephen Moyses in a Peugeot 205.
Blake Morris and Zac Squires, competing in their first event, finished in 66th place in their Ford Ka.