Harwell's Michael Jenkins was thrilled to complete the JLT Tempest Rally, based in Aldershot, on his first venture into the sport.
Driving a Peugeot 205, the 23-year-old was last of the 39 finishers in his 56-car class won by Callum Black.
But just completing the 45-mile four-day event was a massive achievement for Jenkins. “It was the best day of my life,” he said. “It was incredible just to get to the end – that was my aim.”
Jenkins, who was joined by co-driver Scott Dance, from Birmingham, revealed he had been inspired to take up rallying by Richard Burns, winner of the 2001 world title with the Banbury-based Prodrive-run Subaru team, who died of a brain tumour, aged 34 in 2005.
“I worked for the Richard Burns Foundation and he has been a massive inspiration for me,” he added.
“I was wearing his dad Alex’s racing suit the other weekend, and I had a pair of Richard’s gloves in the car with me for good luck as well.”
Now Jenkins, who works for Vodafone at Newbury, can’t wait to race again with the Wyedean Forest Rally in Wales in February a potential target.