OLLIE Mellors and Ian Windress blazed a trail through the freezing forest to claim a dramatic victory in the Grizedale Stages Rally. 

Midlands driver Mellors and his North Allerton co-driver Windress finished Furness and District Motor Club’s major event of the year in an impressive time of 43 minutes and thirteen seconds in their Proton Satria Neo.

That was enough to earn them victory by just one second ahead of David Wright and Steve Pugh (Kirkby Lonsdale/Aberystwyth). 

As usual there were were thrills and spills galore during Saturday's race, which was staged in beautiful wintry cold and clear conditions and watched by hoards of appreciative supporters. 

Next to finish were pre-race favourites Stephen Petch and Michael Wilkinson (43:25) ahead of Peter Taylor and Andrew Roughead (43:28) in a race contested by 73 teams and including crews from Scotland, Wales and Ireland. 

Stephen Simpson and Patrick Walsh clocked a time of 45:15 with Peter Stephenson and Paul Hughes (45:21) and Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol next in 45:37.

Cumbrians Stuart Egglestone and Brian Hodgson finished as Class 3 winners in a time of 47 minutes.