One of Britain's top rally drivers has been the victim of car thieves, hours before a championship race is due to get under way, it has emerged.
A trailer holding Wynn Humphries' Subaru Impreza, worth £55,000, was stolen from outside the Cohannon Inn, Coalisland, in Co Tyrone, while he slept in his room.
A woman parked nearby heard tyres screeching as the thieves, who were driving a blue Citroen people carrier, made off with the trailer and the racing car. She managed to note down the registration number and the incident was also caught on car park CCTV.
Mr Humphries, 26, from Aberdovey in Mid-Wales, who is lying in fifth place in the British Rally Championship, said it was "a big shock".
"It has never happened to us before. I know it does happen, but it is one of those things you think will never happen to you."
The green, white and black car had just had its engine re-built ready for the two-day Ulster leg of the race.
Mr Humphries' father Gareth, aged 55, said: "The police were informed within 45 seconds of the car disappearing. We're hoping for the best because we bought the car brand new."
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