Gallagher starts BRC warm-up with 1600 win
Ireland’s Marty Gallagher came out on top in an enthralling rallylong battle with Thomas Gray to win the 1600 category, the two crews separated by one second at the end.
Letterkenny’s Gallagher, in his Peugeot 208 R2, used the Snowman to ready himself ahead of a full-season of the British championship this year and edged Gray’s Fiesta R2 in the morning’s slippery opening stage at Meall Mor by seven seconds.
Fresh from participation at last November’s Rally GB National event, Gray took the fight to Gallagher in SS2, taking back five seconds he lost prior to first service.
Gray logged quicker times on both SS4 (Contin) and the delayed SS5 (Raven Rock) but was ultimately left frustrated on the blast through the third stage at Strath Rory, where Gallagher took seven seconds to ensure the narrowest of class wins.
Gallagher and co-driver Dean O’sullivan’s relief was evident, the pair short on substantial forest driving, having been consigned to the Irish Tarmac of late.
A three-way scrap for Class 2 (1600 with eight valves or less) spoils became a two-man shoot-out between Andy Chalmers and Robbie Beattie as erstwhile leader Tom Howie retired his Talbot Sunbeam in the middle of SS4. Chalmers in his 205 GTI blitzed Raven Rock to eclipse Beattie by 26 seconds for the win.
There were no such problems for Neil Coalter in the 1400 class with the Sauchen local taking a comfortable win in his Suzuki Swift, finishing nearly nine minutes clear of nearest rival, Steven Crockett.
Three-time Scottish Rally champion Ken Wood turned out in his V6 Triumph Dolomite Sprint in the two-wheel-drive over two-litre class. Despite a bent steering arm, courtesy of an errant rock on SS1, Wood managed to finish 3m56s ahead of the only other competitor in Class 8, Colin Campbell’s Sierra.
Jock Armstrong took Class 11 honours in his newly reshelled TEG Sport Subaru Impreza. Iain Wilson’s similar Impreza was Class 10 winner with Callum Atkinson on the notes.
Dougal Brown/lewis Rochford and Fraser Macnicol/keith Boa were Ford Escort Mk2 class winners in Class 7 and Class 4 respectively.
Three-time SRC champ Wood returned to win Class 8 in Dolomite