Brake failure ruined William Mavitty’s hopes of winning the European Rally Trophy 2 section of the FIA European Rally Trophy finale, which took place on Rallye Casinos do Algarve in Portugal last weekend. The Enniskillen driver was swapping seconds with the front runners, but mechanical problems on the second day of the tarmac event ended his hopes of victory, as he slipped to finish third.

Willie had qualified for the European final by winning the Celtic trophy events in Britain and Ireland in a repeat of his efforts last season, but for the second year in succession he had to be content with third place in Portugal. His most recent third place finish came despite making a blistering start, recording the fastest time on the opening stage. Day one consisted of four stage, and Willie was still battling for the top spot when fate intervened early on day two.

“We were going down into a hairpin and the pressure with the heavy braking meant the brake pipe gave up,” explained Willie. “We had to do six miles with no brakes down a mountain. We lost two and a half minutes on that stage because it was all down the mountain with no pedal at all. We got to the end of the stage and we were able to do a botch repair with a pair of vice grips and got some brake fluid in a shop. We were lucky enough that we were able to get that but we still had three more stages to do which was about 50 kilometres of stage miles.”

Despite making emergency repairs and getting back on the road, any chance of victory was gone. “I pushed as hard as I could with three brakes but we had already lost too much time. I was hoping that the leader might have had a bit of bad luck, so I didn’t want to give up. He had no bad luck!”

Although his victory hopes did not come to fruition, Willie relished his return to Portugal. “It was a very good event and I enjoyed it,” he said. “The atmosphere is very good out there and the organisers are very helpful. It was very different from rallying at home and it was a great experience.”

The rally marked the end of his rallying season, and he admits he is unsure what next year will hold. “I don’t have a plan at the minute,” he said. “It would be nice to get into something different but it depends on the budget, because everything is very expensive to go to the next step. I will just have to see what happens.”