STOURBRIDGE rally driver Richard Sykes admitted to being elated after obtaining 13th place in the recent Wales Rally GB.
Sykes had a surprise invitation into the event having finished runner up in British Rally Championship, where the winner has automatic entry.
However, Russ Thompson, the overall BRC series winner was unable to accept, which opened the door for Sykes to take part.
Apart from his 13th place finish, Sykes also came second in class behind Phil McVey, the irony being that McVey's co-driver Emma Morrison had been partnering Sykes in his previous two BRC Challenge events.
As a result, Sykes drafted in Jonathan Boucard as his co-driver, although the pair had never driven together before.
Sykes claimed: "We quickly gelled, although it was slightly surreal that Emma had now become a team rival!
Sykes went well on the opening day and finished seven seconds ahead of McVey.
But Sykes admitted to not having had the chance to recce the stages and got caught out by a bale chicane.
He revealed: "The rear side window was smashed and the bodywork bent, but were we able to carry on, although the time loss meant McVey, who was going really well, passed us for the lead.
"The final day was really good, we had a clear run and we were pushing hard to keep the pressure on McVey and it's a little disappointing that we didn't get the class win.
"But I'm more than happy with second and I'm delighted with 13th overall, considering we were competing against 300bph 4 wheel drive cars in our 170bph 2 wheel drive C2.
"I can't wait for next year. I'm hoping to contest the BRC Challenge again, but I may have a new car. The current one may be for sale shortly and if it sells, then we'll be out in something different next year".