JASON Pritchard retained his Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship title by the slenderest of margins last weekend.

The Builth Wells star ended the final round, the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally in Otterburn, in third place to be crowned 2019 champion by a point from arch rival Damian Cole.

Pritchard finished third on the event in his North Road Garage Ford Focus WRC05 while Cole ended second to Alan Kirkaldy.

Cole held the championship lead ahead of the final round but with dropped scores to take into account a possibility of Cole and Pritchard being level on points at the end of the day ensured a thrilling rally.

Cole led after the opening stage only to drop 10 seconds following gearbox problems and despite closing the gap to three seconds it was not enough as Kirkaldy held firm for his first ever championship event win.

Pritchard only discovered the championship had been retained after crossing the line in third.

Pritchard said: “Winning the Protyre Asphalt Rally Championship title again hasn’t sunk in yet and it probably will somewhere on the motorway on the way home.

“I’m just glad to see the finish with all the issues we’ve had, the car’s not been running properly all day with a misfire.

“To win five championships in consecutive years, including three British Historic Rally and two Protyre Asphalt Rally titles in the last two years is just a brilliant feeling.

“I can’t thank my co-driver Phil Clarke enough. He’s done an excellent job, as have the rest of the team.We are a real family.”