PEARSON ON FORM TO EXTEND TITLE LEAD
Two outright wins in a row for Pearson/mitchell make Duns crew the title favourites. By John Fife.
The RSAC Scottish Rally provided another thrilling encounter for the Scottish Rally Championship. At the finish, 10 seconds separated Garry Pearson in first place from Jock Armstrong, while 0.9 of a second was the gap to third placed Mike Faulkner.
Even more of a surprise was the fact that Pearson emerged from the first stage at Twiglees 11th in class and 25th overall. The Ford Fiesta R5 had spun on the sandy surface and dropped nearly 20 seconds to its rivals.
Fastest of the SRC registered Scots was therefore Mike Faulkner. He took three seconds out of Armstrong in the first stage, before the Subaru driver took five out of Faulkner’s Lancer on the second. But as the drivers pulled into first service there was a worried frown on Armstrong’s face: “She’s overheating. The new exhaust hasn’t been properly shielded,” he explained, “and there is tremendous heat build-up inside the sumpguard.” That problem was quickly solved. He did the next three stages with no sumpguard while holes were cut in it.
Meanwhile Pearson was on a charge, faster than his two main rivals on each of the three stages before final service. Armstrong rejoined the fray with half a sumpguard and was fastest on the penultimate test while Faulkner struck trouble: “My misfire’s back. It’s OK on downhills but it’s missing badly under load going up hills.”
The last stage on the eastern side of Ae Forest was Faulkner territory, fast and flowing, commitment, demanding stuff, and he duly delivered. Faster than Armstrong and Pearson, but to no avail. Pearson held on to his lead and Armstrong clung on to second.
Mark Mcculloch once again showed his potential as fourth placed SRC contender, but was lucky too: “We put new tyres on for the last two stages, but had to put three old ones back on for the final stage, because three had been badly cut.” He still managed to retain his points scoring position ahead of Rory Young and Bruce Mccombie who also had a lucky escape: “We hit a huge stone on the inside of a downhill ‘right six’ in Gubhill which threw us across the road into another huge stone.”
A contender for Driver of the Day must surely have been Greg Mcknight. It was his first time in a four-wheel-drive car and he finished sixth in the Scottish points but 15th overall in the rally.
Snowman Rally winner Donnie Macdonald had a bad day with loss of brakes on the first four stages in his Mitsubishi. He did manage to regain some time in the afternoon but finished behind Barry Groundwater, Scott Mccombie and Ian Baumgart.
Angus Lawrie finished top 1450cc driver and won his class in his Vauxhall Corsa while Alex Curran was top FWD 1600 contender in his Corsa and Ross Hughes scored his first class win in the Junior Ecosse Citroen C2 series.
1 Garry Pearson/ Rory Mitchell (Ford Fiesta R5) 54m10.4s; 2 Jock Armstrong/ Paula Swinscoe (Subaru Impreza) +9.9s; 3 Mike Faulkner/ Peter Foy (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); 4 Mark Mcculloch/ Michael Hendry (Lancer E9); 5 Rory Young/ Dave Robson (Fiesta R5); 6 Bruce Mccombie/ Mark Fisher (Lancer E9); 7 Barry Groundwater/ Sean Donnelly (Lancer E10); 8 Scott Mccombie/ Mark Fisher (Lancer E9); 9 Ian Baumgart/ Mike Dickson (Impreza); 10 Donnie Macdonald/ Andrew Falconer (Lancer E9). Class winners Angus Lawrie/ Paul Gribben (Vauxhall Corsa); Donald Peacock/ Scott Peacock (Peugeot 205 GTI); Jim Robertson/ Colin Maxwell (Citroen C2R2); Andrew Chalmers/ Martin Maccabe (Ford Escort Mk2); John Morrison/ Peter Carstairs (Lancer E9); Kevin Gray/ Daniel Christie (Vauxhall Astra); Keith Seager/ Mark Runciman (BMW 318 Ti Compact); Donald Brooker/ Rachel Brooker (BMW 130i); Faulkner/ Foy; Armstrong/ Swinscoe; Pearson/ Mitchell.
Armstrong: second SRC Winner recovered from spin to win