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Rally of Scotland - DATE CHANGE - 7-9 Oct 11

Posted: October 21, 2011 11:01 AM - 8715 Hits

Round 11 - 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

RALLY OF SCOTLAND: THREE TIMES A WINNER

Posted: October 21, 2011 11:01 AM

This year’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 October) has been widely hailed as the best yet.

The third running of the event – the penultimate round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge – attracted a record entry and provided three days of dramatic and thrilling high-speed action in the forests of Perthshire and Stirlingshire. Both those counties’ councils and national events agency EventScotland were once again invaluable partners to the rally.

Building on the success of the first two events which received widespread praise from drivers, teams, fans and the world’s media, the 2011 Rally of Scotland further enhanced its reputation as one of the world’s true classic rallies with spectacular special stages set against the backdrop of stunning scenery and legendary landmarks.

This year’s event started and finished at two of the nation’s most historic venues – Stirling Castle and Scone Palace – and, for the first time, featured competitive sections run in darkness. Though heavy rainfall in the preceding week made the forests tracks more slippery than 12 months ago, the world’s top drivers responded to the challenge in fine style. And, once again, they were thrilled to push themselves and their cars to the limit on what many hail to be some of the world’s most challenging and rewarding special stages.

“Scotland is always a real test, especially with the conditions we had this year with the water and the night stages. It has every aspect of rally driving and is tricky but very enjoyable. That is what rallying is supposed to be,” enthused a delighted Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) after achieving his maiden IRC win.

“The stages and the landscape make this a very special rally,” confirmed reigning IRC champion Juho Hanninen (Finland) who finished runner-up to Mikkelsen.
“The landscape is some of the best in Europe. The stages are so fast and so flowing. We were unlucky with the weather because it was rough in places but this is still one of my favourite rallies.”

Frenchman Bryan Bouffier was making his debut in Scotland but, despite his lack of experience, he joined the two Scandinavians both on the podium… and in praising the event.
“For me it was a big challenge because I’m new to the stages. But they are beautiful stages and really, really nice to drive,” he grinned.

The fans certainly enjoyed watching the breathtaking action – this year’s event attracted greater numbers of spectators while live television coverage of the action was beamed instantly to millions of households across Europe via the popular Eurosport channel. A re-group of the competing cars in Perth city centre further brought the spectacle to the public. And adding to the event’s global media exposure, reporters and photographers from throughout Europe were out in force in Scotland as well as some from as far away as Japan. Budding journalism students from Stirling University also got a taste of working in a demanding sporting environment as they were given privileged access to the event that enabled them to mingle with regional, national and international press plus the IRC’s star drivers.

As in previous years, the rally was masterminded by Iain Campbell. As the Clerk of the Course, Campbell has received positive feedback from all involved.

“The teams have all come back and said of the three events to date this is the one they have enjoyed the most,” he reported. “Everyone on the event’s organising team has also said the same – because they had experience of the previous two years, they were able to raise their own game and be a bit more confident in certain situations and in their own abilities.”

Campbell was also quick to praise the hundreds of volunteers and other organisations who continue to make the high-profile event such a major success with all involved.

“A great big ‘thank you’ to all concerned, especially to all those who’ve been there for all three years and put in so much hard graft,” commended Campbell.

“Local motor clubs provided more than 260 officials and marshals without whom it would be impossible to run an international rally like this. They came from throughout Scotland from a host of different clubs including the Highland Car Club, 63 Car Club, Aberdeen & District Motor Club, Stonehaven & District Motor Club, Glenrothes Motor Club, Dunfermline Car Club, Scottish Motor Marshals Club, Scottish Sporting Car Club, Isle of Skye Car Club as well as both Edinburgh and Glasgow University Car Clubs. I would also like to thank all those at the Forestry Commission Scotland who are totally supportive and understand what this sport is about.”

Campbell concluded:
“We all take a great deal of satisfaction from having taken what was a blank piece of paper and turned it into what’s firmly established as one of the IRC’s top events of the year.”

Yokohama leads the way in Production Cup on Rally Scotland

Posted: October 12, 2011 3:30 PM

The Japanese tyre manufacturer Yokohama helped to guide Subaru driver Toshi Arai to victory in the Production Cup category of this weekend's Rally Scotland, the penultimate round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. It also helped young Finn Jarkko Nikara to set a blistering pace to lead the class until a late spin ended in a ditch and retirement.

The weather in Scotland is changeable at the best of times and in early October, as in the last two years, it's possible to have all four seasons in a single day. This year, the event saw mainly two - summer and winter as rain gave way to brighter conditions sporadically.

This meant that the conditions on the fast and flowing gravel stages were predominantly slippery but at the same time, inconsistent. The levels of grip that the crews found changed, often within the same stage and this lead to a raft of spins, crashes and retirements.

There were actually five crews starting the event on Yokohama's recently-developed gravel rally tyre, the A053. Arai and countryman Fumio Nutahara were driving their ADVAN-sponsored Subaru Impreza R4s, up-and-coming Finn Jarkko Nikara was at the wheel of a private Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIX and female Turkish driver Burcu Cetinkaya returned to the IRC, this year at the wheel of a Skoda S2000. In addition, Italian driver Marco Cavigiola was at the wheel of another Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIX.

It was Nikara who made the early running in the Production Cup, battling with recently-crowned British and Scottish Rally Champion David Bogie at the head of the field. His pace increased throughout the event, peaking with fourth-fastest on Stage 11, to hold sixth overall by that point with a one-minute margin over local hero Bogie - a remarkable achievement against such a high-class field.

However, Nikara eventually spun off the road and into retirement on the final forest stage of the event, becoming stuck in a ditch and despite no damage to his car, unable to get back on to the road. But there was consolation for the young Finn, as he was presented with the Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy, presented by Jim McRae and awarded to the driver who shows exceptional pace and performance.

This left the door open for Arai, who had driven round some of the worst conditions he had faced in his career to maintain an error-free run. He eventually finished ninth overall, ahead of four S2000 cars with Nutahara claiming 15th and third in Production, ahead of BRC regular Robert Barrable overall. Cetinkaya unfortunately failed to finish the event but Cavigiola completed 18th overall and second in Group N.

There were additional points on offer in Scotland, to attract entries and ensure that the IRC went down to the wire and as a result, Arai is now second in the Production Cup. And with double points on offer on the final round, Cyprus Rally in three weeks' time, the Japanese driver is still in the running for the overall title.

Commenting, Arai said:
"This was one of the most difficult and technical events I have ever done. The conditions were very slippery at times, and then with very good grip at other times, even in the same stage, so it was very challenging. But we played it safe, used the full potential of the car and finally, got a representative result.

"Yokohama did a fantastic job with our tyres this weekend. It's even more incredible, as the conditions were so varied and no two corners had the same grip. But thanks to Yokohama, we seemed to have the perfect tyres for the conditions all the time."

STi General Manager, Motorsports George Donaldson said:
"This was always going to be one of the best events in our IRC program, in partnership with Yokohama. It was also the one we were most looking forward to, as we felt it played to the strengths of the Impreza R4 and the Yokohama tyre range. We are delighted to claim the top three positions in the Production Cup [Jason Pritchard second in Production in another Subaru]."

Commenting, Mark Evans, Manager of Motorsport at Yokohama HPT Ltd, the UK distributor, said:
"I am delighted to offer our congratulations to Toshi in winning the Production Cup class this weekend, and of course Fumio for his third place.

"I understand the conditions were extremely tricky but I know that the STi team worked very closely with our technicians at the event to ensure that the drivers had the best tyre options available at all times. We know that the A053 is a very versatile tyre and handles changing conditions exceptionally well; our work in British rallying this year has shown this.

"However, what's particularly satisfying is that we have demonstrated that the Yokohama A053 gravel tyre is fully competitive. Jarkko set some incredible times in a Group N car, beating a brace of S2000s at times and this shows that the tyre performs as well as we felt it would. And this was using a tyre with the same compound as an off-the-shelf product."

Jardine and Noble celebrate podium finish in Scotland

Posted: October 12, 2011 3:27 PM

The Sky Bet / ProSpeed team of Tony Jardine and Gordon Noble faced technical difficulties and a puncture during day one of the RACMSA Rally of Scotland, but were able to make up places on Sunday, despite a damaged front suspension, to finish third in class and 21st overall.

Being the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), there were thrills and spills from start to finish among the field of world-class crews as they pushed hard to overcome the punishing stage conditions to claim valuable championship points. However, Norwegian driver Andreas Mikkelsen dominated the event with five stage victories to win with a 26.4 second lead over Finland’s Juho Hanninen. Bryan Bouffier from France was third.

For the Sky Bet team, it was rewarding to bring their Kumho-shod Ford Fiesta R2 home to a podium finish in Perth, after 14 stages totalling 184 kilometres. Driver Jardine commented,
“The stages in Scotland are tough, so I’m pleased to have finished the rally in one piece and with a podium in our class. We’ve had lots of dramas today as the left front suspension was in danger of collapsing. It has been a case of nursing the car through arguably four of the fastest stages of the event, plus we have been struggling with some intercom problems. Probably on High Corrie 2 is where I have personally been at my best and Gordon has been absolutely brilliant, he really got into it. The car has taken so much punishment and there have been so many other cars off that it has mainly been about survival, with ProSpeed keeping the Fiesta running for us.”

Describing yesterday’s stages, the Sky Sports News F1 analyst said,
“There were rocks everywhere on Errochty yesterday during the second leg of the event which caused us to puncture our front left tyre which we had to drive on for two kilometres, risking breaking the drive shaft. That slowed us up and after navigating through rain and fog last night to get to stage eight I must say we were relieved to hear that the stage was cancelled due to the worsening conditions.”

Gordon Noble from Northern Ireland, a highly experienced co-driver, was navigating for Jardine for the first time during this weekend’s Rally of Scotland (7-9 October). Noble said,
“We knew some of the stage conditions were going to be bad but we didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was on Drummond Hill and Errochty. They were treacherous in terms of rocks and mud and our visibility was at a minimum through there, as half of our screen was steamed up. We have been trying to preserve the car, but it has been a truly demanding event. More than anything Tony has done really well to keep going, the car is not easy to drive and the stages have been in bad condition, mainly because there were 100 cars over these roads in similar weather conditions last Saturday on the Colin McRae Stages. Ultimately, we have achieved what we set out to do which was to make sure we reached the finish ramp. It has been challenging, but fun.”

37 cars started the event in front of Stirling Castle on Friday evening, with numerous crews having to retire during the rally. British driver Guy Wilks was one of the victims, retiring on the final stage, after having climbed back up to ninth position following an off on stage five during the first day. There was also disappointment for the top Scottish names in front of their home crowd including Lanark’s Alister McRae and Dumfries’s David Bogie as they were unable to make the finish.

Mikkelsen’s win was his first victory in the IRC, and at 22-years-old he is the youngest IRC event winner. The weekend’s results have now set up what promises to be an enthralling six-way battle for the IRC title in Cyprus next month.

Magnificent Mikkelsen wins Rally of Scotland

Posted: October 11, 2011 11:26 AM

A magnificent performance on the RACMSA Rally of Scotland has given ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 driver Andreas Mikkelsen his maiden victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and given ŠKODA a hat-trick of wins on the event. At 22-years and 109 days old, Andreas becomes the youngest winner of an IRC event.

With Juho Hänninen (ŠKODA Motorsport) finishing 2nd, ŠKODA has retained its IRC title and become 2011 IRC Manufacturers’ Champions, while six drivers – four of them ŠKODA drivers, including Andreas – are still in contention for the drivers’ title with one round remaining.

Co-driven by Ola Fløene, Andreas held 5th position after a calculated run through Friday’s opening two stages in a dark and slippery Carron Valley.

A magnificent display of driving skill on Saturday through the treacherously wet and slippery Perthshire stages of Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty saw the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy pilot set a total of four fastest times in five stages, to turn a 7.4 second morning deficit into a healthy 50.7 second lead by the end of the day.

Back in Stirlingshire for Sunday’s final day of competition, early morning rain had left the narrow gravel forest roads of Carron Valley, Loch Chon and High Corrie extremely muddy. Aiming to control the pace from the front, Andreas was focused on maintaining position and arriving at the finish in first position. With his pace reduced, Andreas drove faultlessly – although it was impossible to avoid all the rocks in the middle of the road, which resulted in the leader picking up a puncture during both runs through High Corrie (a rear right puncture 3.7 miles (6kms) from the end of SS11 and a right front puncture 1.8 miles (3kms) from the end of SS13).

All that separated Andreas from his first IRC victory were two runs over the 1.76 mile (2.84km) Scone Palace stage. Entering them with a 30.4 second advantage, Andreas completed a memorable event without incident to secure a magnificent Rally of Scotland win by 26.4 seconds.

Andreas:
“What a fantastic weekend! We were so close to winning in Hungary and even closer in Sanremo, but we could not have found a better place to score our first IRC win than on ŠKODA UK’s home event in Scotland. The feeling is just amazing and this result gives us something to really build on.

“I really enjoyed driving on these Scottish roads last year, but twelve months ago it was dry and this year the conditions have been so different. The stages this time were wet, muddy and very tricky. It was easy to make a mistake, and I am very pleased to have gone as quickly as we have done this weekend. I’m very proud of what the ŠKODA UK Motorsport team, Ola and myself have accomplished here.

“Crossing the finish line of the last stage in Scotland was the best feeling I’ve ever had in a rally car. I’m really happy.”

The final round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge is the Cyprus Rally (03-05 November).

Fisher/Barritt fly to IRC points on Rally of Scotland

Posted: October 11, 2011 10:54 AM

Alastair Fisher marked a one-off appearance in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge by finishing RACMSA Rally of Scotland in Perth yesterday (Sunday) as the leading British driver following a standout performance at the wheel of his M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000. Fisher, from Trillick in County Tyrone, made light work of the treacherous stage conditions, caused by mud and persistent rain, to record a succession of top 10 stage times on his way to eighth overall and six IRC drivers’ championship points.

Apart from a 30-mile test on Wednesday, Fisher had never driven his Fiesta S2000 on gravel before, making his performance even more remarkable. And the 23-year-old would have challenged further up the order had it not been for a driveshaft failure on Saturday morning, which restricted Fisher and co-driver Daniel Barritt to rear-wheel-drive for two stages and delayed them by more than two minutes in the process.

“For my first time in the car on gravel I really have to be happy with my result,” said Fisher, who drove the same Fiesta he used in Scotland to take second overall on the Donegal International Rally in Ireland back in June. “It was a shame about the driveshaft breaking because things were going really well. By missing those two stages at a crucial point in the rally meant my pace dropped a bit but I was able to push on after that and score points. I was also really pleased with my stage times because the driving conditions really weren’t easy with so many slippery sections.”

Among the highlights for Fisher during Rally of Scotland was his fourth quickest time on the first night stage on Friday, which handed him seventh spot at the end of leg one. His performance through the 16-mile High Corrie 2 stage on Sunday afternoon, when he set the third fastest time – just 2.7s slower than defending IRC champion and last year’s Scotland winner Juho Hanninen – also attracted significant praise.

“I feel at least fifth place would have been within our grasp but for our delay on Saturday,” said Fisher. “But I can’t complain and must thank M-Sport for all their hard work over the last week and for providing an awesome car. And a big thank you too to all my sponsors. Their support has been invaluable as always.”

Rally of Scotland formed the penultimate round of the 2011 IRC season and featured 15 stages over a competitive distance of 196.96 kilometres, four of which were shown live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player.

Fisher’s heroics in Scotland against a number of more experienced drivers came eight days after he won for the first time in the inaugural FIA WRC Academy Cup on the Rally of France in a two-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta R2. His next event will be Wales Rally GB in mid-November when the WRC Academy Cup season draws to a close.

Breen/Roberts Excel in Tartan Thriller to Claim Fourth

Posted: October 11, 2011 9:55 AM

Irish Rally driver Craig Breen upholds Ford’s honours by clenching 4th overall on IRC Rally of Scotland. Breen only on his second IRC event was on the pace for the start on Friday night and over the three day’s showed he can mix it with the big boys on the IRC scene. Being consistent was the name of the game as the weather and surface conditions dictated a cautious approach and Breen delivered in fine style to bring home his Kel-Tech Engineering Ford Fiesta 2000 inside the top five. Breen was ecstatic with the result stating,
“It was difficult yesterday to drive so conservatively and again this morning, then we hit problems. I’m angry that we didn’t get to show some good speed but hey, we’re here now in fourth and what more can I ask for. I’m already looking forward to WRC Spain which we will contest the SWRC in two weeks’ time. I’m also delight this weekend went so well for my co driver Gareth Roberts, Gareth’s professionalism over the last two years is one of the reasons why I’ve achieved so much.”

Breen commented on the ceremonial start ramp held at Stirling Castle on Friday evening,
“I’ll be disappointed if I don’t equal or better my result on Rally Zlin (Barum Czech Rally Zlin, Finished 7th overall) but this weekend will be a difficult and to record a good finish, a driver will need to be patient, but I want to be on the pace and enjoy the event.”

The rally got underway in darkness with a double run over the Carron Valley (8.36km) and Breen made an impressive start by slotting in at 7th overall over the first stage just four seconds away from Guy Wilks, who set the pace. Craig said at the end of the stage,
“It was quite good but it was horrendously slippy.” The Ford driver then set a blistering time over the rerun, recording the third best time and climbed to hold 4th place going into the overnight halt.

As day two dawned the weather had deteriorated making conditions treacherous. Six stages were planned and Craig seeded 17th on the road started the day in 4th place after his fine effort on Friday evening but confessed to a slow start on the stage three morning opener, he also stated an overshoot on stage four plus the conditions and his road position didn’t help as entered midday service. The rerun over the stages in the afternoon told a different story. Solid times over stage six and seven saw the Irish driver climb to 5th overall and with the final test of the day being cancelled the WRC Academy contender has some defending to do on day three to better his result from Rally Zlin.

At the end of stage seven, which turned out to be the final of day two Craig commented,
“We just need to bring it home. I’m looking both to (Jan) Kopecky’s who’s pushing quite hard behind us and we’re not too far away from Patrik (Sandell) who’s just ahead of us but for now I just want to consolidate.”

Day three Sunday turned out to be the sting in the tail on what was already a very tough event. Breen was second fastest on stage nine the first of the morning, Craig said at the end of the test,
“We've matched Patrik, we are going to keep up the pace.” Breen also managed to go 1.3 sec quicker than Thierry Neuville (FRA) and the gap between Craig in fourth to Neuville in third was just 1.4s. Then the drama started on stage 10 with Sandell going fastest on the stage taking 5.3sec out of Craig but as Patrik pulled up to the reporters at the end of the stage he stated that he had damaged the side of his car near the finish and would not be able to continue. This took the pressure off Craig and there was more good news as the next competitor through was Neuville in the Peugeot and he reported a spin costing him over a minute. Going into stage eleven Craig had a cushion of 19.7 seconds over Jan Kopecky (CZE) but there was even more drama and this time it was the Kel-Tech Fiesta driver who was to suffer. As he pulled up to the finish of the test it was clear to see he was after taking a visit into the Scottish scenery. Talking to the IRC reporters he said,
“The car was down on power all the way through the stage and I also had a 360 spin near the end. I don’t know what the problem is.” It was then diagnosed in remote service to be a cracked manifold and Craig set out to nurse the car home over the four remaining stages. The 9.9km’s of Loch Chon 2 (SS12) came next and the Irish man managed to pull another 1.9 sec out on Kopecky to extend his advantage to 16.8s. All the fingers were crossed in the Breen camp as Craig entered SS13 and the 25km’s of High Corrie 2 but there was no problems on the rerun of the stage, the Czech driver did cut the gap by 3.8s and going into the penultimate test the difference was 13s.

Over SS14, Breen matched Kopecky, dropping only a second to hold an 11.7sec advantage going into the last 3km stage. Then over the final stage Craig was in total control, coming home 5sec down on the Czech Skoda driver but finishing 6.6 ahead to take fourth.

Craig’s next event will be on WRC Spain in two weeks’ time. The Irish driver will contest the event as an SWRC entrant and will again be hoping to continue his good form in the Fiesta S2000.

Interviews available at:

MIKKELSEN CELEBRATES RALLY OF SCOTLAND VICTORY IN STYLE AT SCONE PALACE

Posted: October 11, 2011 9:52 AM

Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen has won the 2011 RACMSA Rally of Scotland after dominating the Perthshire and Stirlingshire-based event – the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge – from early on.

After some 200km (120 miles) of timed competitive forest stages that have followed since Friday night’s ceremonial start in front of Stirling Castle, Skoda UK-backed Mikkelsen finished almost half a minute clear of his nearest challenger, Finland’s Juho Hanninen – the pair of them driving Skoda Fabia S2000s. France’s Bryan Bouffier took third in his Peugeot 207 S2000.

Skoda has now secured a hat-trick of wins in Scotland after Guy Wilks and Hanninen steered its Fabia model to victory on 2009 and 2010’s events respectively. For the record, Durham charger Wilks failed to finish the event this time – now driving a Peugeot he set the early pace on Friday night’s opening stages but on Saturday lost more than six minutes with a spin into a ditch. Having clawed his way back into the points he then retired on this afternoon’s very last stage when he damaged his car.

The result means that Mikkelsen, Hanninen and Bouffier along with the Czech Republic’s Jan Kopecky plus Belgian pair Thierry Neuville and Freddy Loix can all still be crowned 2011 IRC Champion in the championship’s final round in Cyprus.

Meanwhile there was disappointment for the top Scottish names in front of their home crowd. Lanark’s Alistair McRae, making a rare appearance outside the Asia-Pacific championship, retired on Saturday morning when his Proton suffered mechanical problems. Dumfries’s David Bogie had then been looking good to end the rally as the top finisher in the Group N production class only for a wheel to come off his Mitsubishi. Mull’s John MacCrone did provide the locals with some cheer, though, by winning the junior 1.6-litre two-wheel-drive class in his Ford Fiesta.

For Mikkelsen it was all smiles as he completed the event’s final stage in front of thousands of spectators in the grand grounds of Scone Palace near Perth this afternoon, more so as the victory was his first in the IRC.

The 22-year-old beamed:
“I finished second here last year and arrived with great memories but this, of course, is even better. Even with the mud we have experienced I have enjoyed this event so much. The stages are so fast and so flowing – this time there was not quite so much grip as in 2010 but it was very enjoyable sliding the car about.

“It’s been a season of ups and downs for me, but the results have been getting very strong lately and I’ve come close to the win a few times. Now it’s happened. There were still some dramas. I had two punctures today – the second one made the car very hard to drive but I was lucky as it was right at the end of the stage. To cross that finish line at Scone Palace was the best feeling I’ve had in a rally car so far.”

PROTON: Rally of Scotland review

Posted: October 11, 2011 9:49 AM

The PROTON Motorsports team once again demonstrated the development and potential of the Satria Neo S2000 on this weekend’s Rally of Scotland, but suffered misfortune on the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge while setting times near the top of the table.

The Perth-based event was Swede P-G Andersson’s first outing in a PROTON on gravel and the two-time Junior World Rally Champion was immediately on the pace, setting second fastest time and running third overall after two exceptionally tricky runs through the Carron Valley stage on Friday night.

Scottish rally hero Alister McRae was also in the top 10 times on that second stage, but the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship leader’s determined run in front of fervent local support came to an end in SS5, when a stone damaged the sump on the Satria Neo S2000. When the oil light came on, McRae knew his event was run and his chances of repeating his Rally of Scotland second place of two years ago were dashed.

Andersson maintained that pace into Saturday, where he was never out of the top six times on what was one of the most competitive IRC rounds of the season. Arriving in Perth, after the morning’s action, Andersson was fourth, just 3.9 seconds away from a podium place and only just over 30 seconds off the lead. When he went to start the car to move into the control, the car had no electrical power due to a battery problem.

On stage times, Andersson remained an exceptional fourth at the end of Saturday. Unfortunately, he had incurred road penalties due to the battery problem and was classified further down the field. Unperturbed, he was back in the groove as the event moved west for the stages closer to Stirling today (Sunday), but he came unstuck when a driveshaft broke on SS11 and damaged the crank sensor. The engine stopped immediately and Andersson’s stunning run was over.

The PROTON Motorsports team now turns its attentions to the China Rally Longyou, the final round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (November 4-6), where the Malaysian manufacturer will be looking to win an unprecedented five championship titles.

Quotes:

Alister McRae said:
“It was great to be back in Scotland and competing again at home. Unfortunately, despite a really promising start, this wasn’t to be our event. The stages were really slippery, conditions were very tough, but we were inside the top 10 and the car was running well. Just in the Errochty stage we went through a corner and we felt an impact on the bottom of the car, it didn’t feel like anything too dramatic, but then the oil light came on and we switched the car off straight away. We’d caught a stone in just the wrong place and it had cracked the sump and drained the oil. This was really bad luck. It was hard to take, but that was Scotland finished for us. Now though, we look ahead to the final round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. I’m leading the championship and my team-mate Chris Atkinson is second, the fight is between the two of us and I can’t wait to get started in China.”

P-G Andersson said:
“The car felt really good throughout the rally. The handling is great and, despite some really slippery stages, we were able to push hard and make some good stage times. I was really enjoying the first time driving this car in the forests, but then we had a problem with the battery on Saturday and the sensor on Sunday. Today [Sunday] before we retired, our only other problem was in stage 12 when the screen was covered in so much mud after a big puddle, the wipers couldn’t clear it all straight away – I couldn’t see a thing! It’s good to see that, on the stage times, we were close to the front of the field, the development is paying off and the PROTON is definitely getting faster. There is more work to do with the car, but the team knows that and we’re on it. I liked this rally, the stages were nice and challenging, actually, really challenging in the conditions!”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“I can honestly say, in 30 years of competing in rallying, I have never known such a shocking run of bad luck. After yet another great pre-event test, everybody was really upbeat about the event, then we made a great start with P-G third on Friday night and both cars well inside the top 10, only for us to hit trouble. Alister caught a rock awkwardly and broke the sump, had that been a couple of inches either side, it would have been fine and then P-G stopped with a dead battery – never happened before and happened to us for absolutely no explicable reason. P-G carried on and would have been running fourth, a fantastic effort from him on his first outing in the car on gravel and a real demonstration of what the car’s capable of now. Then a driveshaft fails and while it’s flailing around it smashes the crank sensor and stops the engine immediately. This has been an unbelievable rollercoaster of a season; despite the massive promise again, we have come out of Scotland on a bit of a low, but we’re ready to for the high of an Asia-Pacific Rally Championship title fight between two PROTON drivers in China next month.”

IRC RALLY OF SCOTLAND JOY FOR YOUNG STAR MIKKELSEN

Posted: October 11, 2011 9:46 AM

Andreas Mikkelsen’s long wait for his first victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge is over after he won RACMSA Rally of Scotland to set up a thrilling six-way battle for the IRC title on the final event of the season in Cyprus next month.

Mikkelsen’s success combined with Juho Hanninen’s second place, hands SKODA its second IRC manufacturers’ title in as many years subject to official confirmation. It also means the 22-year-old from Norway becomes the youngest IRC event winner and the sixth different victor in this year’s IRC such has been the extremely open and competitive nature of the series in 2011.

Bryan Bouffier was the leading Peugeot finisher in third overall to maintain his title push with Irishman Craig Breen a hugely impressive fourth overall in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta. Peugeot France driver Bouffier overcame brake problems on Sunday morning while Breen’s ultimate pace on the final day was masked by a cracked exhaust manifold.

Jan Kopecky maintained his lead at the top of the IRC standings by finishing fifth but will face opposition from SKODA Motorsport team-mate Hanninen, Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg’s Thierry Neuville, Mikkelsen, Bouffier and Freddy Loix in his bid to land his first drivers’ crown after finishing runner-up for the last two years when the IRC concludes in Cyprus from 3-5 November.

Mikkelsen, in a SKODA UK-backed Fabia Super 2000, moved into the Rally of Scotland lead on Saturday’s second stage and was in control from the moment Peugeot UK’s Guy Wilks spun into a ditch and got stuck on stage five, Errochty, one of four stages shown live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player during the weekend.

Co-driven by fellow Norwegian Ola Floene, Mikkelsen began the final day with a lead of 50.7s. Although the first two slippery stages through the stunning Stirlingshire countryside this morning were trouble-free for Mikkelsen, a right-rear puncture six kilometres from the end of Sunday’s third test allowed Hanninen to trim his advantage to less than 30 seconds.

Mikkelsen hit back with the fastest time through stage 12 before another puncture, this time his front-right tyre three kilometres from the finish of the next run, caused further anguish. But after completing the two stages around Scone Palace on the outskirts of Perth unscathed, Mikkelsen was able to celebrate a popular and hugely deserved victory having come close on several occasions this season.

For Hanninen, second place represented a remarkable reversal of fortune after set-up issues held him back on Saturday morning. The Finn, the winner in Scotland in 2010, was fastest on three of Sunday’s five forest-based tests.

Behind fifth-placed Kopecky, Neuville’s efforts to recover from a costly spin on stage 10 netted sixth overall after he overtook Toni Gardemeister on the penultimate stage. Seventh for Gardemeister means he has scored points on all nine IRC events he has contested this year in his TGS Worldwide Fabia.

M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver Alastair Fisher was the leading British finisher in eighth overall after the Northern Irishman successfully fought back from a broken driveshaft on Saturday morning. Wilks should have taken ninth following his comeback drive only to tear a wheel off his car on a gatepost on the final stage to compound a frustrating season.

Matthias Kahle bagged the final point for SKODA Auto Deutschland, the multiple German champion’s first in the IRC. It was also the 50th event he and co-driver Peter Gobel have contested together with SKODA.

SKODA Sweden’s Patrik Sandell moved into fourth overall after going fastest on stage 10. However, in doing so he damaged his car’s suspension running wide near the finish to the point he was unable to go any further. Leading female driver Burcu Cetinkaya retired her SKODA on the road section heading to stage 10 with steering problems.

An electrical glitch forced PG Andersson’s retirement on stage 11 after the Swede had run as high as fourth in the overall classification. PROTON Motorsports’ team-mate Alister McRae was unable to restart on Sunday after he stopped on Saturday with a holed sump on his Satria Neo S2000.

IRC Production Cup
Toshi Arai made the most of Jarkko Nikara’s retirement on stage 13 to win the IRC Production Cup for the first time in an impressive 10th overall in his R4-specification Subaru Impreza. Nikara was leading when he spun his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer into a ditch and got stuck. David Bogie started day two in second in class but tore the left-rear wheel off his Lancer running wide on a corner nearing the end of stage 11. Jason Pritchard finished second in his Impreza, despite having to drive through Sunday’s stages with a broken damper, which a lack of spare parts meant he was unable to replace. Arai’s team-mate Fumio Nutahara made it a Subaru podium lockout with Marco Cavigioli a strong fourth.

IRC 2WD Cup
Martin Kangur put a frustrating season behind him to win the IRC 2WD Cup in his Honda Civic Type R. The young Estonian moved in front when Mark Donnelly retired his Clio R3 with a broken engine on Saturday afternoon. Harry Hunt should have finished second but slid into a ditch on stage 11 and was unable to regain the road. Jean-Michel Raoux missed a golden opportunity to move ahead of Stefano Albertini, who was not competing in Scotland, to the top of the IRC 2WD Cup standings only to go off the road on stage 13. Rising Scottish star John MacCrone finished second in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta R2 with Janos Puskadi third for Honda, which crowns the Japanese make as the unofficial IRC 2WD Cup manufacturers’ champion. DRIVER QUOTES Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway), SKODA Fabia S2000, first overall: “What a fantastic weekend. We were so close to winning in Hungary and even closer in Sanremo, but we could not have found a better place to score our first IRC win on SKODA UK’s home event. The feeling is just amazing and this result gives us something to really build on for our next rally in Cyprus.” Juho Hanninen (Finland), SKODA Fabia S2000, second overall: “It’s an exciting end to the IRC and second place gets good points for SKODA, which was the main target this weekend. It’s not been an easy rally but I am very happy to finish second.” Bryan Bouffier (France), Peugeot 207 S2000, third overall: “Of course you always want to be on the top but I have to be happy with my performance for my first time here and on gravel too. The stages were tricky but beautiful at the same time.”

Full Results

Posted: October 11, 2011 9:22 AM

1 Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Ola Floene (NOR) SKODA Fabia S2000 1h55m17.2s
2 Juho Hanninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) SKODA Fabia S2000 +26.4s
3 Bryan Bouffier (FRA)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Peugeot 207 S2000 +1m35.3s
4 Craig Breen (IRL)/Gareth Roberts (GBR) M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +2m05.1s
5 Jan Kopecky (CZE)/Petr Stary (CZE) SKODA Fabia S2000 +2m11.7s
6 Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Peugeot 207 S2000 +3m10.4s
7 Toni Gardemeister (FIN)/Tapio Suominen (FIN) SKODA Fabia S2000 +3m11.5s
8 Alastair Fisher (GBR)/Daniel Barritt (GBR) M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 +4m59.9s
9 Toshi Arai (JPN)/Dale Moscatt (AUS) Subaru Impreza R4 STI +8m17.6s
10 Matthias Kahle (GER)/Peter Gobel (GER) SKODA Fabia S2000 +9m36.1s

Video: Colin Clark/iRally Preview

Posted: October 7, 2011 8:03 AM

Barrable/Connolly take to IRC Rally Scotland

Posted: October 7, 2011 8:00 AM

Robert Barrable Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman award winner supported by the Irish Sports Council will in his Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car line up alongside the top drivers in the IRC for this weekend’s RACMSA Rally Scotland which takes place in Perth. The rally has a record 38 international entries with crews representing 17 different countries among them the top eight drivers in the current IRC standings.

The event will see Robert and co-driver Damien Connolly make a return to gravel after spending the past number of months concentrating on Tarmac rallies with great effect. In preparation for the Scottish event Robert and the Evolution Motorsport team mechanics completed two days of comprehensive testing on gravel followed by a late entry for the Bush Whacker rally where Robert finished sixth overall. Roberts Skoda Fabia S2000 was then converted back to tarmac specification for last weekend’s Cork 20 International rally where Robert showed a blistering pace over the Saturday evening stages matching the pace of the WRC cars on the night stages. Robert commented prior to starting reece for the IRC rally
"I am looking forward to getting back on gravel, I have completed some good testing work and the run on the Bush Whacker was really useful in helping with car setup for this event. The recent heavy rain in Scotland will make the stages difficult and with the IRC crews tackling the stages ahead of us it the stages are likely to cut up so it will be about driving a good clean rally and looking after the car."

Following the Ceremonial Start from Stirling Castle on the Friday, the crews head straight into two competitive timed stages in the dark of Carron Valley on the Stirlingshire-North Lanarkshire border. The cars will depart the service park in Perth just before 9am on Saturday and tackle classic stages in Perthshire such as Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty all which will run twice with a lunchtime service in Perth City Centre. The Sunday stages see the drivers return to Carron Valley before two more new tests in Stirlingshire, Loch Chon and the hugely challenging 26km High Corrie, each of which will be run twice. They will then head back into Perthshire for the event’s final two stages and Ceremonial Finish in the majestic grounds of Scone Palace.

"I enjoy taking part in the IRC rounds, the atmosphere and the support the events get is really great and I am sure with the proximity to Ireland this weekend’s event should see some Irish rally fans make the trip over to lend their support and see the top crews." said Robert. Following the IRC round Robert will tend to various sponsor duties, and possibly an outing on the Fastnet Rally based in Bantry, Co. Cork at the end of October. Follow Roberts’s progress via his website www.robertbarrable.com or get news and updates as they happen by following him on twitter @RBarrableRally.

Video: Ford/Skoda Test (Includes Craig Breen & Johnny Greer)

Posted: October 5, 2011 1:41 PM

IRC RACMSA RALLY OF SCOTLAND PREVIEW

Posted: October 5, 2011 12:20 PM

THE CHALLENGE

The all-action Intercontinental Rally Challenge is back on gravel for the third running of RACMSA Rally of Scotland next week with six drivers still locked in combat for the coveted title.

With live coverage on Eurosport and extra points offer to the top 10 eligible finishers*, the event is set to emulate the high drama and thrilling battles witnessed on several rounds of the IRC this season. Such has been the close nature of the competition in 2011 that the winning margin on four events has been less than two seconds. Scotland’s IRC qualifier is set to be no different.

Rally of Scotland’s stages are some of the fastest and most spectacular on the calendar. Winding their way through the picturesque Perthshire and Stirlingshire countryside in the centre of the country, the stages use mainly closed-forest roads with blind crests, climbs and descents, sharp drops, tight junctions, off-camber corners and tree-lined straights all in store for the bulging entry.

The event gets underway with two runs through the Carron Valley stage on Friday night (7 October) following the ceremonial start at Stirling Castle. Carron Valley, which measures 8.36 kilometres in length, uses forest roads around Carron Reservoir close to Stirling and will provide an early test for the IRC crews, who will tackle the stage in the dark.

Saturday’s itinerary features three repeated stags in Perthshire:
Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty. The finishes of Craigvinean and Drummond Hill have both undergone minor changes for 2011 with the last two kilometres of Craigvinean featuring several high-speed crests, while the second Drummond Hill run will be held after dark. The two passes through Errochty will be shown live on Eurosport and are set to attract an audience of millions around the world.

The county of Stirlingshire will host Sunday’s action.
Following a third visit to Carron Valley, competitors will tackle two runs of the Loch Chon and High Corrie stages, which include sections of the old Loch Ard test, before the event draws to a close at Scone Palace where two short stages will be held prior to the ceremonial finish. Scone Palace, on the outskirts of Perth, is where kings of Scotland were crowned in centuries past.

On both days the permanent service park will be housed at Perth Airport although a remote service will be available in the town of Callander on Sunday to reduce the total liaison distance for the competitors while providing welcome respite following the first 25.81-kilometre High Corrie test, both runs of which will be covered live on Eurosport.

In addition to forming the penultimate round of the main IRC, Rally of Scotland counts for the new-for-2011 IRC Production Cup for R4 and Group N-specification four-wheel-drive machines, plus the IRC 2WD Cup for two-wheel-drive cars.

All crews competing on RACMSA Rally of Scotland will be eligible for the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, which is presented to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend. A panel of experts consisting of the IRC’s Motorsport Development Manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas, Gilbert Roy, the Director of Editorial and Programme Development at Eurosport Events, and Jim McRae, Colin’s father, choose the winner on each round of the IRC.

THE COMPETITORS

An entry full of quality and quantity has been assembled for RACMSA Rally of Scotland’s third appearance in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge with five of the six title contenders set to fight for glory against a number of talents from the British Isles.

Bryan Bouffier heads the list of registrations in his Peugeot France 207 Super 2000. The Rallye Monte-Carlo winner has proved his pace on gravel in the past and took part in a gravel test with Peugeot Sport in northern England earlier in September to fine-tune the set-up of his 207.

While Thierry Neuville, who moved equal second in the IRC standings by winning last time out in Sanremo, fears his lack of gravel knowledge will hold him back in his Team Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg 207, his Kronos Racing team-mate Guy Wilks, excels on loose-surface stages. The Peugeot UK driver won in Scotland in 2009 and was leading last season until he hit trouble.

Defending IRC champion Juho Hanninen is back in action after skipping the last two events in Hungary and Italy. Hanninen, from Finland, took victory in Scotland last season, and was triumphant on the gravel-based Sata Rallye Acores earlier this year. Jan Kopecky, who heads the drivers’ table by 25 points, partners Hanninen in the factory SKODA Motorsport team as he attempts to maintain his push for his maiden IRC crown having finished second in 2009 and 2010.

Andreas Mikkelsen heads SKODA UK Motorsport’s challenge in his Fabia. Like SKODA Sweden’s Patrik Sandell, Mikkelsen is expected to fight for victory having come close several times this year.

Finn Toni Gardemeister will be bidding to extend his scoring sequence to nine events in his TGS Worldwide Fabia. Estonian teenager Karl Kruuda (SKODA Fabia) rates Scotland’s IRC round as one of his favourite rallies and will be a potential top 10 finisher, as will SKODA Auto Deutschland’s Matthias Kahle. Other SKODA drivers in action in Scotland include Irishman Robert Barrable, Jonny Greer, from Northern Ireland, and Burcu Cetinkaya from Turkey, who is making her first start in the IRC in 2011 having tackled several rounds last season.

Scottish hero Alister McRae, the younger brother of rallying legend Colin McRae, forms part of the two-strong PROTON Motorsports’ line-up in a Satria Neo S2000. Swede PG Andersson will drive a second entry. Craig Breen (Ireland) and Alastair Fisher (Northern Ireland) will pilot a brace of M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000s and are set to impress.

Freddy Loix, joint second in the points with Neuville, had been due to take part in a BFO-SKODA Rally Team Fabia but has since withdrawn his entry to focus on the season-closing Cyprus Rally.

IRC Production Cup

With title leader Florian Gonon not including Rally of Scotland on his schedule of events this season, Toshi Arai will be one of the favourites to capitalise on the Swiss driver’s absence. Driving a Yokohama-supported Subaru Impreza R4 STI the Japanese is one of the most experienced drivers on the entry. To win, Arai will have to overcome strong opposition including his team-mate Fumio Nutahara, David Bogie, who recently added the British title Scottish crown he won earlier in the year in his Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, Welsh driver Jason Pritchard (Impreza WRX STI) and Italian Ralliart exponent Marco Cavigioli.

IRC 2WD Cup

After failing to get to grips with the tight and twisty stages on the last round in Sanremo, Jean-Michel Raoux will be anxious to get his IRC 2WD Cup title bid back on track having slipped behind Stefano Albertini in the standings.

Albertini won’t be competing in Scotland so Raoux will be looking to take advantage in his Clio R3. Defending champion Harry Hunt and fellow Briton John MacCrone will be contenders for category honours, as will the Honda Civic Type R trio of Martin Kangur, Janos Puskadi and Scottish youngster Graeme Schoneville. Australian Molly Taylor, in an M-Sport Fiesta R2, is an established gravel driver and will pose a threat.

THE EXPECTATIONS

Juho Hanninen (SKODA Motorsport Fabia S2000):
“Scotland is one of the best rallies we do. I love the way the stages flow over the crests, you carry good speed and the surface is always fine. It’s a big challenge and it will be a very big fight for victory, but it’s a great place for the fight.”

Alister McRae (PROTON Motorsports Satria Neo S2000):
“I have good memories of rallying in this part of the world. We had a good finish here a couple of years ago, when we finished second in the PROTON. The competition is going to be really tough, there’s a good, quality entry.”

Guy Wilks (Peugeot UK 207 S2000):
“It’s a fantastic feeling to win and when it’s your home rally it’s even better. It will be no easy challenge because there are so many Super 2000 cars competing. But the best way to win is to beat the best. I’m only looking at one thing, to win.”

PEUGEOT – IN IT TO WIN IT

Posted: October 5, 2011 12:14 PM

In the hunt for both the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles, there is still everything to play for as the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge enters its final phase. Indeed, not only have the series’ organisers introduced a ruling this year whereby only the seven best results of each driver will count in the final score-total, but the last two rounds of the season will earn extra points. The first round to work to a coefficient system is the RACMSA Rally of Scotland.

An astonishing innovation

In 2010, the final rounds of the season suffered from a lack of entries, since certain regular names had lost all chance of winning the title and chose not to make the trip. In a bid to prevent this from happening again, the IRC’s management proclaimed that the RACMSA Rally of Scotland would be a coefficient 1.5 round, while the year-ending Cyprus Rally would count for double points.

This means that a win in Scotland will earn 37.5 points instead of the 25 points awarded at each of the first nine rounds. In Cyprus, victory will be worth 50 points. Fourth place in Scotland will notch up 18 points, which is the same as second place usually. Finishing third in Cyprus (30 points) will be equivalent to winning the Rallye Monte-Carlo or the Tour de Corse outright!

Two not-to-miss events

As a result, the trips to both Scotland and Cyprus will be vital for those wishing to win the 2011 IRC Drivers’ Challenge. Also, given that only the seven best results will count at the end of the year, it means that only the five best scores to date will come into consideration. If you calculate provisional positions with this in mind, the current standings would be Jan Kopecky (Skoda) on top with 101 points, ahead of Juho Hänninen (Skoda, 98 pts). Thierry Neuville (Peugeot) would be third (95), ahead of Freddy Loix (Skoda, 91) and Bryan Bouffier (Peugeot, 82). The situation would consequently be far tighter than it might seem as things stand.

Similarly, in the Manufacturers’ standings, the five ‘best’ scores would give Skoda a total of 212 points, compared with 177 for Peugeot. Should a team succeed in finishing first and second in Scotland, however, the harvest would be 64.5 points, and as high as 86 points for the same result in Cyprus! So everything is to play for.

The gravel challenge

Meanwhile, another feature of the IRC is the fact that, although eight of the first nine rounds are on asphalt, the last two events are essentially gravel rallies, either on all stages or partially. “We had a good test in Scotland which lasted six days,” says Bertrand Vallat, the Peugeot Sport engineer responsible for the design and development of the 207 S2000. “That allowed us to make progress in terms of traction, braking and lateral grip.”

“Scotland will only be the third loose surface rally of my career in a four-wheel drive car,” notes Thierry Neuville, who will be co-driven, as usual, by Nicolas Gilsoul in the Peugeot Belgium-Luxemburg 207 S2000. “We will have moved on from Sanremo and I can’t really see myself challenging for the lead. I will focus on being as consistent as possible in order to come away with a strong result.”

Bryan Bouffier and Xavier Panseri will travel to the United Kingdom in a similar frame of mind. “I have more experience of gravel than Thierry, but it’s not my speciality. That said, I won’t have any choice in the matter: I will need to finish in the big points if I want to help Peugeot’s bid for the title.”

Guy Wilks on familiar territory

In contrast, Guy Wilks and Phil Pugh have been competing in British forests since the very beginning of their careers. “This weekend’s forest stages are among the most difficult in the sport,” says the Peugeot UK driver. “They are fast and very narrow but don’t give much grip, despite the fact that we will be reaching speeds of 90 mph with trees to either side.” That said, this sort of on-the-limit driving is what the Briton enjoys. “In 2009, I won the inaugural RACMSA Rally of Scotland,” he adds. “This year, I really haven’t had much luck and the trip north of the border could be the ideal opportunity to score my first IRC win of 2011.”

Craig Breen Rally: Event Preview

Posted: October 5, 2011 11:59 AM

After competing on Tarmac for the previous three events it's back to gravel or depending on the weather, MUD!, for next weekend's IRC, Rally of Scotland for Craig and it's also a return to Four Wheel Drive as the Irish drive jumps back into his Kel-Tech Engineering Ford Fiesta S2000. Craig recorded a wonderful 7th overall in the Czech Republic at the Barum Czech Rally Zlin and the Irishman will be concentrating on repeating that performance in the Scottish forests.

Both Craig and Gareth were very disappointed after crashing out of WRC Rally France when leading the WRC Academy penultimate round. They had made the perfect start over day one and were working on continuing that form over the Saturday stages. It's a fine line that competitors thread in rallying and just one mistake can spell disaster. Unluckily that's what happened last Saturday morning to the Irish/Welsh crew. Over the last three year's Gareth has been one the main reasons why Craig has achieved so much. Just one kilometre from the end of stage ten, on the approach to a left hander, Gareth was late with a note and Craig was to fast into the corner. The result was a broken drive shaft and the pair were out, Gareth was devastated. The accident underlines how rallying is not just about the driver. It’s a driver and co drover combination that achieves each result and the Craig/Gareth combination have accomplished alot over the passed three years. The pair will use next weekend’s Rally of Scotland and the following WRC Spain which they will also contest in the S2000 to get back on track before the final FIA WRC Academy showdown on Wales Rally GB.

RALLY SCOTLAND:
The event gets underway with two runs through the Carron Valley stage on Friday night (7 October) following the ceremonial start at Stirling Castle. Carron Valley, which measures 8.36 kilometres in length, uses forest roads around Carron Reservoir close to Stirling and will provide an early test for the IRC crews, who will tackle the stage in the dark.

Saturday’s itinerary features three repeated stags in Perthshire:
Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty. The finishes of Craigvinean and Drummond Hill have both undergone minor changes for 2011 with the last two kilometres of Craigvinean featuring several high-speed crests, while the second Drummond Hill run will be held after dark. The two passes through Errochty will be shown live on Eurosport and are set to attract an audience of millions around the world.

The county of Stirlingshire will host Sunday’s action.
Following a third visit to Carron Valley, competitors will tackle two runs of the Loch Chon and High Corrie stages, which include sections of the old Loch Ard test, before the event draws to a close at Scone Palace where two short stages will be held prior to the ceremonial finish. Scone Palace, on the outskirts of Perth, is where kings of Scotland were crowned in centuries past.

On both days the permanent service park will be housed at Perth Airport although a remote service will be available in the town of Callander on Sunday to reduce the total liaison distance for the competitors while providing welcome respite following the first 25.81-kilometre High Corrie test, both runs of which will be covered live on Eurosport.

All crews competing on RACMSA Rally of Scotland will be eligible for the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy, which is presented to the driver whose performance best embodies the spirit of the rallying legend.

DOUBLE CHAMPION BOGIE TARGETING FURTHER GLORY ON RALLY OF SCOTLAND

Posted: October 5, 2011 11:56 AM

Scotland’s latest rallying hero, David Bogie, is looking to further his growing reputation with another stellar performance on next weekend’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 October), the penultimate round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

The 24-year old from Dumfries first hit the sporting headlines when he won the 2009 Scottish Rally Championship to become the youngest SRC Champion since the late Colin McRae in 1988. Since then he has completed a hat-trick of three successive SRC titles and last weekend was also crowned 2011 British Rally Champion to become the first Scot in history to win both Scottish and British Rally championships in the same year.

“It’s been a dream year,” admitted Bogie. “We started off competing in both championships and planned to concentrate on the one in which I was doing best. So to go on and win them both is just unbelievable. And now we have the chance to finish the season on another high with the Rally of Scotland.”

Bogie and his regular co-driver Kevin Rae from Hawick, however, face an uphill struggle to win their home event. As a round of the globetrotting IRC, the RACMSA Rally of Scotland has attracted a record international entry including many of the world’s best rally drivers all competing in highly tuned S2000 cars which are more powerful than Bogie’s regular Group N class Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

“There are 18 S2000 cars on the entry list, so it’s one heck of a line-up,” remarked Bogie who was the highest placed Group N finisher on last year’s event when taking fourth place overall. He added: “As the entry is so much stronger this year, it will be much tougher to finish as high as that again. We can’t expect to be on the S2000 pace but if we can beat a couple of them and finish as the top production car I’d be more than happy. I would love to have had a chance to join the S2000 field but we don’t have the budget so it’s up to us to do the very best job we can with the Mitsubishi. That’s our objective.”

More importantly than the final result, this is a chance for Bogie to impress those international manufacturers and teams contesting Scotland’s premier motor sport event.

“With so many people now following the IRC, it’s a great opportunity for me to showcase what I can do,” he said. “I would love to do more international events like this and a good performance in Scotland will be a step in the right direction.”

In the meantime, the newly crowned British and Scottish Champion is relishing what he hopes will be a fitting finale to his double title winning season. “The stages are unbelievable and some of the best in the world. So being Scottish and rallying against the IRC competitors on home ground is just about as good as it gets. I can’t wait to be a part of it,” he enthused.

The spectacular event kicks off with a Ceremonial Start in front of Stirling Castle at 19.00hrs on Friday 7 October and concludes at historic Scone Palace near Perth on the Sunday 9 October. Public admission to each stage is just £20 per vehicle with the exception of the Carron Valley stage on Sunday morning which is priced at £10 per vehicle. Full ticketing and event details can be found on the official website:

Mikkelsen aims to give ŠKODA Scotland hat-trick

Posted: October 5, 2011 11:55 AM

Andreas Mikkelsen will be aiming to give ŠKODA a hat-trick of wins on the RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 October), when he contests ŠKODA UK Motorsport’s home round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in his Fabia S2000.

ŠKODA has won the event for the last two years, with Andreas and co-driver Ola Fløene finishing 2nd to Juho Hänninen (ŠKODA Motorsport) in 2010. The event is only the second gravel rally of the IRC season, so Andreas will have a two-day test in the Scottish forests prior to the event.

Having done all his early rallying in the UK, including winning the first rally he ever contested in 2006, the Quinton Stages, Andreas has a good feeling for the British forests and especially likes the fast and flowing challenging loose surface tracks of Perthshire and Stirlingshire.

This year’s Rally of Scotland has received its best ever entry, with 11 ŠKODA Fabia S2000s on star-studded list. Defending IRC Hänninen returns, his ŠKODA Motorsport team-mate and IRC leader Jan Kopecký makes his first appearance in Scotland, talented Northern Irishman Jonny Greer will start just two weeks after claiming 3rd in the British Rally Championship in his Simpson’s supported ŠKODA, while Patrik Sandell, Toni Gardemeister, Robert Barrable and top female rally driver Burcu Çetinkaya are all entered in Fabia S2000s.

ŠKODA is also the Official Vehicle Supplier to the event, continuing its support for a third consecutive year. It will supply a fleet of four-wheel drive Yetis, Octavia Scouts and Superbs to transport VIPs and rally officials from stage to stage, while Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will supply vehicles to carry all the essential rally equipment around the route – such as timing systems and control points.

Andreas:
“Rally of Scotland is our home event and the most important rally of the year for us, and we’ll be very well prepared. We’ve done eight IRC rallies on asphalt this season, and we led the only gravel rally held so far in the Azores and finished a close second. We’ve also been contesting the Italian Gravel Rally Trophy and we’ll have a two-day pre-event test in Scotland, so we’ll definitely be up to full speed on gravel by the time the rally starts!

“The Scottish stages are fast and flowing and they suit my driving style. I really enjoyed the event last year and had a good result.

“We have performed really well and scored some good results in the IRC, especially during this second half of the season, so the aim is to try and win in Scotland. It won’t be easy because there is a lot of strong competition and a podium finish would be a great result, but for sure we will be trying to finish on the top step.”

This year’s Rally of Scotland begins on Friday 7 October with a Ceremonial Start at Stirling Castle at 19.00, before the event’s opening two stages held in the dark of night around Carron Reservoir in Stirlingshire. The event moves into Perthshire on the Saturday 8 October, taking in classic stages such as Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty before a return on Sunday 9 October to Stirlingshire for another run through Carron Valley prior to two new tests, Loch Chon and the giant 16.15 mile (26km) High Corrie, that will each be tackled twice. The final two stages will be in the majestic grounds of Scone Palace, which will also host the Ceremonial Finish at 17.24, after the completion of all 15 stages and 124.33 miles (200.09kms) of competition.

British Eurosport 1 and 2 will broadcast four stages live on television – details below:

PROTON: Rally of Scotland preview

Posted: October 5, 2011 11:53 AM

The PROTON Motorsports team will look to build on its FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship title-winning form, when it arrives at Rally of Scotland with local hero Alister McRae at the wheel of one of two factory Satria Neo S2000s.

McRae, who now lives in Western Australia, arrives back in his native land with a fine competitive edge and the lead of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. Four days ago, McRae was in the Far East contesting and leading Rally Hokkaido with PROTON Motorsports. McRae looked well set for his first APRC win of the year until a puncture halted his progress and cost him two minutes and his hopes of maximum APRC points. Typically, McRae hit back hard on the second day in Obihiro, slashing the gap between himself and the winner to just 8.8 seconds at the finish.

Having gone from Perth (WA, Australia) to Perth (Perthshire, Scotland) via Tokyo, McRae is looking forward to some of the toughest competition of the season. Focused on the APRC this year, this week will be the former British Rally Champion’s first IRC outing of 2011. He’s also looking forward to seeing the Saltires flying, the Haggis cooking and the stunning beauty of Scotland in the autumn.

The Rally of Scotland is the scene of PROTON’s finest hour in the IRC. In his debut season with the team, McRae placed the Satria Neo S2000 second overall on the 2009 event. Since then, the British-based team has worked through a considerable research and development programme with the car, dramatically reducing the gap to the IRC pace-setting machinery.

Joining McRae in the PROTON Motorsports team is IRC regular P-G Andersson. The Swede – a double Junior World Rally Champion – has been pleased with the ongoing development of the Satria Neo S2000 this season and he is looking forward to getting the car into the Scottish forests.

The second half of the IRC season has a heavy asphalt bias and, having been born and brought up on Scandinavian roads shorn of grip either by the winter snows or their loose-surface nature, Andersson’s pace is bound to be a feature of Scotland’s biggest motorsport occasion this week.

And, for the team itself, the Rally of Scotland represents the final leg of a gruelling timetable in which PROTON Motorsports has contested four rallies in five weeks on two continents. Having just arrived back from Japan, the team will relish the day-long road-trip back to base in Bakewell – with not a check-in desk or plate of aeroplane food in sight.

Prior to Rally of Scotland, PROTON Motorsports will spend Wednesday testing in forests close to the town of Callander to fine-tune the set-up ahead of the Stirling Castle start on Friday (October 7) evening.

Quotes:

Alister McRae said:
“It’s always nice to come home to compete again. And it’s good to come home with plenty of competitive seat time in the Satria Neo. Rally Hokkaido was a bit of a double-edged sword, really. We were really disappointed not to win the event, we had the speed with the car until we got the puncture, but then we finished second in APRC, which was enough for us to lead the championship with one round to go.

"But now, the focus is on Scotland. We had a good finish here a couple of years ago, when we finished second in the PROTON. The competition is going to be really tough, there’s a good, quality entry for the rally.
"The new stage on the Friday night is going to be a big challenge to everybody, especially with it running in the dark. In October, it’s just possible there could be a wee bit of rain or mist around, just to really spice things up a bit. After that, it’s onto the familiar stages on Saturday and Sunday – and these really are some of the best roads in the world. I know I’m a Scotsman, so I’m possibly a wee bit biased, but Scotland’s a fantastic country and the Rally of Scotland is a great rally to come and watch.”

P-G Andersson said:
“It’s going to be nice to get the car onto gravel, this is the surface where I have more experience of competition. We could see from the times which Giandomenico [Basso] set in Rallye Sanremo last month that the car is getting better and better. And everybody in the PROTON Motorsports team is full of confidence after a very good result in Japan last weekend. I’m sure this will be a good event this week, everybody has talked so much about these stages – I’m really looking forward to getting going in them.”

Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“Scotland is an event the team all enjoy. Having travelled a fair bit this season, it’s good for the guys to come and compete at home – and the competition will be fierce again this week. We come to this rally match-fit after clinching the drivers’ Asia-Pacific title in Japan last week. Obviously, it’s been a while since P-G was in the car on gravel, but he’ll have a good opportunity to get some valuable set-up work done at the test on Wednesday. We’re really pleased with the way the development of the car is going now and we’ve shown that we’ve cut the gap dramatically [to our rivals] on recent asphalt rounds of the IRC.”

Wilks tipped to fight back in Scotland

Posted: September 29, 2011 11:43 AM

Marc van Dalen has backed Peugeot UK’s Guy Wilks to make up for the disappointment of his early exit from Rallye Sanremo earlier this month when the Intercontinental Rally Challenge resumes on RACMSA Rally of Scotland next week.

Wilks, who lives south of Scotland’s border with England, is one of the favourites for honours on the gravel round following his victory on the inaugural event in 2009.

However, his crash in Italy recently, his fourth retirement in succession, has left him desperate to make up lost ground ahead of Rally of Scotland.

“Guy made a stupid mistake in Sanremo but he was very unlucky because there was a lot of dust on the corner where he crashed,” said van Dalen, whose Kronos Racing operation runs the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 driven by Wilks and navigator Phil Pugh. “It was very disappointing for him because he was actually fastest at the timing split before the accident.

“Scotland is a very important event, not only for Guy, but for Peugeot UK because it is their home rally. I have no doubt Guy can do something good there.”

Wilks is seventh in the IRC drivers’ standings after nine rounds.

Hanninen braced for Mikkelsen threat

Posted: September 29, 2011 11:42 AM

Defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Juho Hanninen says he expects that Andreas Mikkelsen will be his toughest opponent when he returns to the series on RACMSA Rally of Scotland.

Hanninen, who drives a SKODA Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, secured the 2010 IRC drivers’ crown by winning in Scotland last season and is still in contention for this year’s title, despite skipping the last two events.

On Sata Rallye Acores in July, the only gravel round to have run so far in the IRC this season, Hanninen took victory but only after a close fight with SKODA UK Motorsport driver Mikkelsen. The Finn is braced for another close battle with the Norwegian ace next week.

“I think it will be a big battle with Andreas,” said Hanninen. “In the Azores this year, we had such a big fight with him, it was incredible. I think he will be the main person, but then there are other drivers who will be close as well – [Guy] Wilks will be difficult there as well. It will be a very big fight and a really tough battle, but a great place for the fight.”

Loix out

Posted: September 29, 2011 11:42 AM

Feddy Loix will not be heading to his year's Rally of Scotland.

MCRAE AIMING FOR HOME SUCCESS ON NEXT WEEK'S RALLY OF SCOTLAND

Posted: September 29, 2011 11:38 AM

Scottish star Alister McRae is hoping to maximise home advantage to score a memorable result on next weekend’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 October) – the UK’s only round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

The son of five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae and brother of the late 1995 World Rally Champion Colin McRae now lives in Australia but will be competing in Scotland’s biggest motorsporting event for the third year in succession. In the 2009 event, McRae powered his way to second place to give the Proton team its best IRC finish to date.

"It’s always nice to come home to compete again,” admitted the 40-year-old Lanark exile. “Obviously, I have good memories of rallying in this part of the world and it’ll be great to see the Saltires out there flying high. We had a good finish here a couple of years ago.”

McRae, though, knows that will be a tough result to emulate. With the highly competitive 2011 IRC nearing its climax, this year’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland line up will be the strongest yet featuring a host of IRC winners topped by reigning champion and 2010 event winner Juho Hanninen (Skoda Fabia S2000) and 2010 Monte Carlo Rally victor Bryan Bouffier (Peugeot 207 S2000). McRae, who is a regular for Proton in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, is seeded at number nine in his improving Satria Neo S2000.

“The competition is going to be really tough,” he agreed. “There’s a good, quality entry. It's definitely going to be one of the most keenly fought rallies of the year.”

While McRae has not competed in the IRC this year, he will arrive back on familiar home territory match-fit, fresh from tackling this weekend’s (1-2 October) penultimate APRC round in Japan. What’s more he’s looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with what are widely hailed as some of the world’s classic rally stages.

“The new Carron Valley stage on the Friday night is going to be a big challenge to everybody, especially with it running in the dark,” predicted McRae. “In October, it’s just possible there could be a wee bit of rain or mist around, just to really spice things up a bit. After that, it’s onto the familiar stages on Saturday and Sunday – and these really are some of the best roads in the world. I know I’m a Scotsman, so I’m possibly a wee bit biased, but Scotland’s a fantastic country and the Rally of Scotland is a great rally to come and watch.”

Public admission to each stage is just £20 per vehicle with the exception of the Carron Valley stage on Sunday morning priced at £10 per vehicle. The spectacular event kicks off with a Ceremonial Start in front of Stirling Castle at 19.00hrs on Friday and concludes at historic Scone Palace near Perth just before sunset on Sunday afternoon. Full ticketing and event details can be found on the official website:

RECORD WORLD-CLASS ENTRY FOR OCTOBER'S RACMSA RALLY OF SCOTLAND

Posted: September 23, 2011 12:00 PM

Next month’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 October) has attracted one of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge’s most exciting entry lists of 2011 with the top eight drivers in the current championship standings plus home heroes Alister McRae (pictured) and David Bogie all set for a high-speed battle on the star-studded event.

A record 38 international entries – 26 of those in the IRC’s top car class – from 17 different countries have registered so far for the event. Among them are the top eight drivers in the current IRC standings.

This year’s Rally of Scotland is the penultimate round of the high-profile IRC that this weekend is in action in Sanremo, Italy. Two weeks later the globetrotting series will arrive in Scotland for its only UK round of 2011 with spectacular high-speed action on daunting gravel surface stages through the forests of Perthshire and Stirlingshire. The event is recognised as one of Scotland’s top international sporting weekends of the year and, with one and a half times normal championship points on offer, it could prove pivotal in the IRC title battle.

Starting from Stirling Castle on the Friday (7 Oct) and finishing at Scone Palace on the Sunday (9 Oct), the event’s route will total more than 1000 kilometres – 800 of those will be on main public highways through surrounding towns and villages as some of the world’s top rally drivers and cars share the roads with everyday motorists and their vehicles while en route to timed competitive stages in nearby forests. Throughout both Friday and Saturday and overnight into Sunday, all cars will be held and worked on by the teams at the event’s Central Service Park at Perth Airport.

Reigning champion Škoda will have a major presence with 11 of its mighty Fabia S2000s entered – among them are those being driven by the Czech Republic’s Jan Kopecký, Belgium’s Freddy Loix and Finland’s Juho Hanninen, the current top three in the IRC standings. Hanninen won last year’s Rally of Scotland and is the defending IRC Champion. Furthermore, Norwegian ace Andreas Mikkelsen, runner-up in Scotland 12 months ago, is also in his regular Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia S2000 (Škoda UK has just confirmed it will be the event’s Official Vehicle Supplier for a third consecutive year).

Rival Peugeot’s hopes lay with Britain’s top IRC driver Guy Wilks from Darlington – currently seventh in the IRC standings and who won 2009’s event in Scotland – as well as France’s Bryan Bouffier and Belgium’s Thierry Neuville, winners earlier this year in Monte Carlo and Corsica respectively.

Lanark’s McRae (pictured on 2010's event) will handle the Proton which he has driven to huge success on the Asia-Pacific rallying scene. Dumfries-based Bogie, recently crowned the 2011 Scottish Rally Champion and also currently leading the MSA British Championship, will be in his faithful Mitsubishi. Both can expect huge support from the partisan Scottish crowds out on the stages.

In addition, highly professional crews representing Ford, Subaru, Citroen, Renault and Honda are also on the entry list.

Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of International Motor Sports which organises the Rally of Scotland, commented:
“We are delighted to have attracted such a phenomenal line-up of teams, drivers and cars. This is fantastic news for all of our partners, the many local motor clubs and volunteer marshals and officials who play such a vital role in the smooth running of the event. And of course for the thousands of public – be they die-hard fans of the sport or casual observers – who will be attending the weekend.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland, added:
“This year’s impressive line-up of drivers clearly shows how highly regarded the Rally of Scotland is by the professionals. It’s an endorsement of Scotland’s credentials as the perfect stage for international rallying for drivers, spectators and also the many thousands of people who will watch this impressive competition on TV around the world.”

Adding to the action on Rally of Scotland, 25 entries have been received for the supporting National event that will follow hot on the heels of the IRC’s stars on Saturday’s and Sunday's stages and which represents an opportunity for many club-level crews from across the UK to shine on an international stage.

After its Ceremonial Start from Stirling Castle on the Friday (7 Oct), this year’s Rally of Scotland heads straight into its first two competitive timed stages in the dark of Carron Valley on the Stirlingshire-North Lanarkshire border. The Saturday (8 Oct) sees classic stages in Perthshire such as Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty all run twice. The Sunday (9 Oct) sees the drivers return to Carron Valley before two more new tests in Stirlingshire, Loch Chon and the hugely challenging 26km High Corrie – each will be run twice. They will then head back into Perthshire for the event’s final two stages and Ceremonial Finish in the majestic grounds of Scone Palace.

Admission is £20 per public vehicle per stage with the exception of Sunday morning’s Carron Valley stage which is £10 per vehicle.

For Rally of Scotland stage locations and start times during its three days (7-9 Oct) see the Spectator section on the official www.rallyofscotland.com website. The site’s homepage also provides a taste of what is in store in just over two weeks’ time with a short, dramatic video – compiled by IRC broadcaster and promoter Eurosport – of 2010’s Rally of Scotland.

Live television coverage for RACMSA Rally of Scotland

Posted: September 23, 2011 11:51 AM

The all-action Intercontinental Rally Challenge will thrill millions of fans watching on television around the world next month when coverage of RACMSA Rally of Scotland, the penultimate round of the 2011 IRC season, is broadcast live on Eurosport.

Eurosport, the IRC’s media partner and Europe’s leading sports entertainment group, will show live coverage of stages five and seven, Errochty, on Saturday 8 October, and stages 11 and 13, High Corrie, on Sunday 9 October.

Coverage of the iconic Errochty stage, a 17.68-kilometre all-gravel test through undulating forest tracks, will be shown from 13:00-14:00hrs CET and 18:30-19:30hrs CET. High Corrie, a new addition to the Rally of Scotland itinerary for 2011, is 25.81 kilometres in length and will be shown from 12:00-13:00hrs CET and 14:45-15:45hrs CET. A full broadcast schedule appears below.

Errochty and High Corrie were selected following a reconnaissance of the competitive route by members of the Eurosport Events team, the IRC’s promoter, in the summer. As well as ensuring the stages provided the necessary level of challenge for car and crew, they also had to offer spectacular views of the stunning Scottish countryside.

The Eurosport Events team also used the visit to finalise stage-side camera positions, check satellite reception links for the onboard cameras, and assess the flight access for Eurosport’s helicopter to follow the competing cars through the stages, images from which will be included within the live broadcasts.

Jean-Pierre Nicolas, the IRC’s Motorsport Development Manager, said fans watching Rally of Scotland on television would be treated to a spectacular show:
“Errochty is a model stage: fast, quite wide, flowing with a perfect surface. High Corrie is very tricky and technical with lots of possibilities to make mistakes. The action will be spectacular.”

Andrew Coe, the Chief Executive of Rally of Scotland organiser International Motor Sports, said:
“Eurosport’s coverage of the IRC is raved about the world over by motorsport fans. Its fantastic grasp of the sport means our event is really spoilt when it comes to exposure and excitement on TV. The viewership figures are absolutely staggering.”

Eurosport’s coverage of Rally of Scotland will require five fixed camera locations, 10 onboard cameras, a helicopter-mounted camera, a plane for transmitting the onboard camera signals, plus a team of 70 expert personnel working on the ground in Scotland and at Eurosport’s headquarters in Paris.

A cumulative global reach of 79.22 million people watched coverage of the IRC in 2010. Eurosport’s network reaches 123 million homes across 59 countries.

TV Times (Including Live Stages)

Posted: September 23, 2011 11:48 AM

Al Times (Irish/UK)

Saturday 8 October
12:00hrs-13:00hrs: LIVE SS5 Errochty 1 (Eurosport and British Eurosport 1)
17:30hrs-18:30hrs: LIVE SS7 Errochty 2 (Eurosport and British Eurosport 2)

Sunday 9 October
11:00hrs-12:00hrs: LIVE SS11 High Corrie 1 (Eurosport)
13:45hrs-14:45hrs: LIVE SS13 High Corrie 2 (Eurosport Player)
21:45hrs-22:30hrs: SS13 High Corrie 2 delayed (Eurosport)
22:30hrs-23:15hrs: SS13 High Corrie 2 delayed (British Eurosport 2)


Tuesday 11 October
23:30hrs-24:00hrs: Rally Review (Eurosport and British Eurosport 1)

Wednesday 12 October
12:00hrs-13:00hrs: Rally Review repeated (Eurosport 2)
16:15hrs-16:45hrs: Rally Review repeated (British Eurosport 2)

Check Listing to confirm times

Rally Planner is now online

Posted: September 22, 2011 2:09 PM

Fans visiting this year's RACMSA Rally of Scotland can now download the Rally Planner from the spectator section of the webiste.

The Rally Planner provides vital information for spectators to the event including car park opening times, directions to car parks, recommended viewing areas as well as personal insights from Skoda UK Motorsport's Andreas Mikkelsen into each of the demanding special stages, explaining the sporting challenges competitors on this yea's event will face.

Don't forget that each car park pass sold at the stage car parks includes a copy of the Official Programme (value £6.50).

More Details

Seeded Entry List (International)

Posted: September 22, 2011 9:57 AM

ŠKODA UK continues as Official Vehicle Supplier to RACMSA Rally of Scotland for third year running

Posted: September 21, 2011 4:19 PM

ŠKODA UK will continue as Official Vehicle Supplier to the RACMSA Rally of Scotland for a third consecutive year, when the penultimate round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) takes place next month (7-9 October).

ŠKODA UK will supply a fleet of four-wheel drive Yetis, Octavia Scouts and Superbs to transport VIPs and rally officials from stage to stage, while Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will supply vehicles to carry all the essential rally equipment around the route – such as the timing systems and control points.

ŠKODA also aims to continue its unbroken winning record on the event, having won both previously held Rally of Scotland events in 2009 and 2010. This year, ŠKODA UK Motorsport is hoping that Andreas Mikkelsen and co-driver Ola Fløene will finish on the top step of the podium – having finished 2nd to Juho Hänninen (ŠKODA Motorsport) last year.

Robert Hazelwood, Director of ŠKODA UK, said:
“We are delighted to continue our involvement with the RACMSA Rally of Scotland by supplying vehicles to the rally officials for a third year in a row. We’ve had a very successful association with our home round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and we’re confident that our four-wheel drive road vehicles, as well as our Fabia S2000 rally car, will once again impress fans in the Scottish forests. We’re greatly looking forward to this year’s Rally of Scotland, where our one hundred and ten years of ŠKODA in motorsport celebrations will continue.”

Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of Rally of Scotland organiser International Motor Sports, commented:
"We are once again delighted to welcome ŠKODA UK as the Official Vehicle Supplier to the 2011 RACMSA Rally of Scotland. Its support since 2009 has been terrific and it is the sort of highly enthusiastic and pro-active partner that any international sporting event – not just in motor sport – would love to have.

“Its Yeti, Octavia and Superb models perfectly suit the requirements of our VIPs and officials in enabling them to cover the event’s road mileage in between stages and then the more rugged terrain on the approach to them efficiently, practically and in both comfort and style.

“In the IRC, its Fabia S2000 model has of course been the car to beat with victories in six of the right rounds so far, while ŠKODA drivers also fill the top three places in the IRC table. We very much look forward to seeing if ŠKODA – in particular its UK Motorsport Fabia driven by Andreas Mikkelsen – can win Rally of Scotland for the third year in a row.”

This year’s Rally of Scotland (7-9 October) will get under way on the Friday afternoon (7 October) with a Ceremonial Start at Stirling Castle before the event’s opening two competitive timed stages held in the dark of night around Carron Reservoir in Stirlingshire. The event will then move into Perthshire on the Saturday (8 October), taking in classic stages such as Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty before a return on the Sunday (9 October) to Stirlingshire for another run through Carron Valley prior to two new tests, Loch Chon and the giant 16.15 mile (26km) High Corrie that will each be tackled twice. The Rally will then finish late afternoon on the Sunday with its two short final stages through the majestic grounds of Scone Palace near Perth – also the scene for this year’s Ceremonial Finish.

Public admission costs £20 per vehicle at the entry to each stage with the exception of Sunday morning's Carron Valley stage which costs £10.

Fisher to Contest Rally of Scotland in Fiesta S2000

Posted: September 16, 2011 11:21 AM

Alastair Fisher will contest RACMSA Rally of Scotland, the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, from October 7-9 in a Ford Fiesta Super 2000 run by M-Sport, the company responsible for Ford’s World Rally Championship effort.

The 23-year-old from Trillick in County Tyrone took part on the inaugural Rally of Scotland in 2009 in a Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX. He will return to the Perth-based event this season in a pacesetting Fiesta S2000 when he will go up against several leading IRC contenders on the all-gravel event.

“The competition in the IRC is very tough but it’s good to get out there and put yourself up against these drivers and show what you can do,” said Fisher.
“I want to push for a strong finish but I’m also looking to build my experience of driving a Super 2000 car and to work with M-Sport again is great. Our pace in the WRC Academy this season has been strong, so it will be interesting to see how we can compare against the IRC regulars.”

Rally of Scotland, will enjoy several live television transmissions on satellite station Eurosport over the rally weekend and it is ranked as one of the IRC’s most demanding and spectacular events. Former champion Kris Meeke, who like Fisher is from Northern Ireland, once said its stages are the best in the world.

“The stages are fast and flowing and offer a really good challenge, particularly the night stages,” said Fisher, who will be co-driven by Daniel Barritt. “I’ve got some knowledge of the route and the area so I’ll be sure to make the most of that. And with the live coverage on Eurosport there’s also a chance to get some good publicity.”

The event features 15 stages over a competitive distance of 122.38 miles. Action starts with the first of two night stages on Friday October 7. The event concludes with two stages through Scone Palace where Scottish kings were once crowned.

Fisher has previous S2000 pedigree to call on having won his class in second overall on the Donegal International Rally back in June at the wheel of the same Fiesta he will use in Scotland. Although the event will mark the first time Fisher has competed in the car on gravel he is set to take part in a pre-event test on the Wednesday prior to the rally. Fisher’s car will be equipped with Pirelli gravel tyres.

Prior to his outing on Rally of Scotland Fisher will contest the fifth round of the FIA WRC Academy Cup, Rallye de France Alsace from 28 September-1 October. Fisher has been one of the star performers in the WRC Academy this year, claiming several stage wins.

Craig Breen to go to Scotland

Posted: September 9, 2011 12:32 PM

Craig Breen has added Scotland to the list of events he will compete on in his Ford Fiesta S2000.

COLIN MCRAE VISION JOINS FORCES WITH OCTOBER'S RALLY OF SCOTLAND

Posted: September 1, 2011 3:11 PM

This October’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland has officially joined forces with Colin McRae Vision – the charity set up in memory of the legendary Scottish rallying hero to support underprivileged children.

Furthermore, Colin’s father Jimmy, himself a five times British Rally Champion, will drive the ‘Zero’ course car on the event (7-9 October) – this will be one of Colin’s first and best remembered competition cars, the Subaru Legacy in which he won the 1991 and 1992 British Rally Championship titles.

Colin McRae Vision was launched in 2008 to promote educational and health programmes for children. Founded in memory of the world’s most famous rally driver – and also the 1995 World Rally Champion – it has made donations of more than £50,000 in the UK and overseas in the last 12 months alone. During October’s Rally of Scotland it will make further donations to worthy causes nominated by Perthshire and Stirlingshire councils – it is through both counties that the rally will predominantly run. In addition, the Vision’s own retail unit will be present during the event to generate funds from the public.

Lanark-based Jimmy McRae commented:
“It’s quite appropriate that I’ll be driving the Legacy as it’s 20 years since Colin won his first British title and 30 years since I won my first British title.

“I’m really looking forward to this event. The Legacy was a big car to throw around the forests but the memories that people will have of it with Colin at the wheel, sideways, the famous colour scheme and that very distinctive engine note should hopefully put a smile on quite a few faces.

“Rally of Scotland’s simply a great event for the country with many of the top international stars putting on a show on what the drivers and public regard as the best competitive stages about. I have a lot of knowledge of the stages around Perth from my own rallying days and the McRae Stages event but I haven’t been down in the Carron Valley here in Lanarkshire for 20 or more years. Colin’s brother Alister (also a past British Rally Champion) is almost certainly going to be taking part in the event so hopefully this will help add more interest around what we are trying to achieve.”

McRae Snr added:
“I’m sure Colin probably didn’t realise just how popular he was but through his popularity we’ve been able to do quite a bit recently. When we set up the Vision charity we could see there was an opportunity to put money back into kids and help with their health and education – things that Colin was always behind.”

Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of International Motor Sports (IMS) that organises the Rally of Scotland, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to be supporting Colin McRae Vision for 2011 – it is a wonderfully moving and noble charity and we sincerely hope our event can help raise further awareness and support for the tremendous work it carries out. We are also deeply honoured that Jimmy McRae will in effect be leading the field through each stage in that famous Subaru Legacy of Colin’s from the early Nineties. It is sure to be a hugely emotional moment for many of the thousands of fans out on the stages during the weekend.”

The Rally of Scotland (7-9 Oct) is the UK’s only round of the high-profile Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The 2011 event is set to attract a star-studded entry of world-class rally teams, cars and drivers. British hopes are expected to lie with Scottish aces, Lanark’s Alister McRae (British Rally Champion in 1995) in his Proton and newly crowned 2011 Scottish Rally Champion David Bogie (Dumfries), as well as Darlington’s Guy Wilks – winner in 2009 – in his factory Peugeot UK 207. There will also likely be huge support for the Skoda UK-entered Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen in his Fabia.

Making the running at present, however, are the likes of Skoda’s Finnish megastar Juho Hanninen (last year’s Rally of Scotland winner and reigning IRC Champion), Belgians Freddy Loix and Thierry Neuville, France’s Bryan Bouffier and the Czech Republic’s Jan Kopecky. In addition to Proton, Skoda and Peugeot, other famous rallying makes such as Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Citroen will be represented on the entry list.

This year’s Rally of Scotland will get under way on the Friday afternoon (7 Oct) with a Ceremonial Start at Stirling Castle before the event’s opening two competitive timed stages held in the dark of night around Carron Reservoir in North Lanarkshire. The event will then move into Perthshire on the Saturday (8 Oct), taking in classic stages such as Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty before a return on the Sunday (9 Oct) to Lanarkshire for another run through Carron Valley before moving into Stirlingshire for two new tests, Loch Chon and the giant 26km High Corrie that will each be tackled twice. The Rally will then finish late afternoon on the Sunday with its two short final stages through the majestic grounds of Scone Palace near Perth – also the scene for this year’s Ceremonial Finish.

Public admission costs £20 per vehicle at the entry to each stage with the exception of Sunday morning's Carron Valley stage which costs £10.

ENTRIES ALREADY RECEIVED FOR OCTOBER'S RALLY OF SCOTLAND NATIONAL CLASS EVENT

Posted: August 31, 2011 12:11 PM

Entries for the National class rally that will support this year’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland are into double figures with some six weeks still to go before the event takes place (7-9 October).

Ten competitors have already signed up for the National event that will use Saturday afternoon’s and all of Sunday’s stages on Rally of Scotland – hot on the heels of the headlining Intercontinental Rally Challenge stars.

It means many of the small, but no less enthusiastic, crews – normally limited to events on a more local level in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK – have an opportunity to shine on an international level by comparing some 82 miles of stage times with those set by the IRC’s top drivers. Furthermore the stages – each a high-speed blast through Forestry Commission Scotland land in Perthshire, Stirlingshire and North Lanarkshire – are widely acclaimed as being among the most spectacular and best prepared anywhere in the world.

Famous names such as Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty in Perthshire feature on the Saturday. Sunday’s stages include Carron Valley in Lanarkshire and, new for 2011, Loch Chon plus the daunting 26km High Corrie in Stirlingshire.

As a further incentive, the first 25 entries received for Rally of Scotland’s National category will also be guaranteed entries into November’s Wales Rally GB National, the UK’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship – plus a £100 discount on the entry fee. With over 60 entries already received for Wales Rally GB National, this is now the only way to guarantee a place on the event.

Entries received so far for Rally of Scotland’s National event are: Barry Groundwater (Stonehaven, Aberdeen), Alistair Inglis (Montrose, Angus), Neil Coalter (Aberdeen), David Newall (Mid Calder, Livingston), Dougal Brown (Inverness) and Wayne Sisson (Burton in Kendal, Cumbria) – all are in Mitsubishi Lancers – Michael Robertson (Letham, Angus) and John McClory (Strathblane, Glasgow) in their Subaru Imprezas, Lewis Roper (Basingstoke, Hants) in his Nissan Micra and Carl Tuer (Alnwick, Northumberland) in his MG ZR.

Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of International Motor Sports which organises both Rally of Scotland and Wales Rally GB, commented:
“We are in the fortunate position to be able to offer to the national clubman competitors in this country the opportunity to take on the very best stages in both Scotland and Wales and for them to be able to directly compare their performance against those at the very pinnacle of the sport.

“We have therefore put together this very attractive proposition for competitors wanting to tackle both these top-class international events. The cost-per-mile to the competitor is extremely good value and, with the added incentive of a reduced entry fee to Wales Rally GB for those tackling Rally of Scotland, we hope to attract the best of our national competitors to both rallies. And so it should be on what are Britain’s two showcase events, particularly for the thousands of fans who travel to see the action.”

The RACMSA Rally of Scotland (7-9 Oct) is the UK’s only round of the high-profile Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The 2011 event is set to attract a star-studded entry of world-class rally teams, cars and drivers. British hopes are expected to lie with Scottish aces Alister McRae (Lanark) in his Proton and newly crowned 2011 Scottish Rally Champion David Bogie (Dumfries) as well as Darlington’s Guy Wilks – winner in 2009 – in his factory Peugeot 207. There will also likely be huge support for the Skoda UK-entered Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen in his Fabia.

Making the running at present in the IRC title race, however, are the likes of Skoda’s Finnish megastar Juho Hanninen (last year’s Rally of Scotland winner and reigning IRC Champion), Belgians Freddy Loix and Thierry Neuville, France’s Bryan Bouffier and the Czech Republic’s Jan Kopecky. In addition to Proton, Skoda and Peugeot, other famous rallying makes such as Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Citroen will be represented on the entry list.

This year’s Rally of Scotland will get under way on the Friday afternoon (7 Oct) with a Ceremonial Start at Stirling Castle before the event’s opening two competitive timed stages held in the dark of night around Carron Reservoir in North Lanarkshire. The event will then move into Perthshire on the Saturday (8 Oct), taking in classic stages such as Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty before a return on the Sunday (9 Oct) to Lanarkshire for another run through Carron Valley prior to moving into Stirlingshire for two new tests, Loch Chon and the giant 26km High Corrie that will each be tackled twice. The Rally will then finish late afternoon on the Sunday with its two short final stages through the majestic grounds of Scone Palace near Perth – also the scene for this year’s Ceremonial Finish.

Tickets cost £20 per vehicle at the entry to each stage with the exception of Sunday morning's Carron Valley stage which costs £10.

For more information about the 2011 Rally of Scotland – including latest news, route details and full stage timetable – visit

GLOBAL TV BROADCASTER EUROSPORT COMPLETES PREPARATIONS FOR RALLY OF SCOTLAND COVERAGE

Posted: July 7, 2011 3:51 PM

Major TV sports broadcaster Eurosport has finalised the aerial and ground-level camera positions that will beam dramatic images of this October’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland to a worldwide audience.

A six-strong delegation from Eurosport’s Paris headquarters last week joined Rally of Scotland officials for a reconnaissance of the forests of Perthshire and Stirlingshire. It will be here on the Forestry Commission Scotland’s immaculately-kept gravel tracks that 2011’s event – the crucial, penultimate round of this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge – will take place (7-9 October).

Eurosport will reveal full details of its coverage of 2011’s Rally of Scotland soon. However, in 2010 its impressive set-up included a 70-strong team as well as a convoy of satellite, ancillary and outside broadcast vehicles plus a helicopter specially equipped with cameras that transmitted some truly stunning overhead pictures of the high-speed Rally of Scotland action and Scottish countryside to a global TV audience of some 125 million households.

Some of the spectacular footage shot last October can be viewed in an exhilarating five-minute Eurosport video on the official new-look www.rallyofscotland.com website.

Xavier Gavory, IRC General Co-ordinator, commented:
“Scotland has an incredible landscape with the most challenging roads for the competitors. This gives us great images for TV and exciting competition.”

Jean-Pierre Nicolas, IRC Motorsport Development Manager, added:
“This is one of the most beautiful rallies in the IRC. Errochty (Perthshire) is the best stage: fast, quite wide, it flows and the surface is just perfect. High Corrie (Stirlingshire) is a slower stage – it is very tricky and technical and because of this there are lots of possibilities to make mistakes.”

And said Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland:
“The 2010 Eurosport coverage certainly showcased what Scotland has to offer the world of rallying – in terms of beautiful yet challenging scenery and landscapes – and we expect this year's footage to build on that and reach out to a global audience of rallying fans and potential visitors to Scotland.”

This year’s Rally of Scotland (7-9 Oct) will see some of the world’s top rally drivers, teams and cars do battle over 200 competitive timed stage kilometres through the forests of Perthshire and Stirlingshire. Teams representing established rallying makes such as Skoda, Peugeot, Ford, Proton, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Honda and Citroen are all expected to enter as are top British seeds such as Scotland’s Alister McRae and David Bogie and Darlington’s Guy Wilks.

The event starts at Stirling Castle on Friday afternoon before a double run at night through the new Carron Valley forest stage around Carron Reservoir. On the Saturday, classic stages such as Craigvinean, Errochty and Drummond Hill in Perthshire will all be used twice. On Sunday, the rally action moves back into Stirlingshire with Carron Valley plus two blasts each through the Loch Chon and High Corrie stages. At 26km, High Corrie is by the far the longest stage on the event – indeed, one of the longest on the IRC calendar – and will surely play a decisive role in the outcome of the result. The event then reaches its climax on the Sunday evening, back in Perthshire, with two short stages through the picturesque grounds of Scone Palace where the 2011 Rally of Scotland winner will be crowned.

Public admission to each stage is £20* per vehicle and in addition to the spectacle sure to be thrown up by the IRC title fight a supporting, a National-seeded event for ‘club-level’ competitors will also be held on Saturday’s and Sunday’s stages. This gives them a chance of making a name for themselves on an international event and also adds to the entertainment for spectators.

* with the exception of Carron Valley’s singe stage on the Sunday morning (9 Oct) which is £10 per vehicle.

Eurosport Events completes Scotland visit

Posted: July 1, 2011 11:28 PM

Preparations for RACMSA Rally of Scotland, which will form the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge from 7-9 October, stepped up a gear earlier this month when a delegation from Eurosport Events, the IRC’s promoter, visited part of the competitive route.

The six-strong team was finalising camera locations and helicopter positions on the Errochty and the new-for-2011 High Corrie stages that will be included on the all-gravel event later this season.

Xavier Gavory, the IRC’s General Co-ordinator, said: “Scotland has an incredible landscape with the most challenging roads for the competitors. This gives us great images for the television and exciting competition.”

Jean-Pierre Nicolas, the IRC Motorsport Development Manager, added:
“This is one of the most beautiful rallies in the IRC. Errochty is the best stage: fast, quite wide, it flows and the surface is just perfect. High Corrie is a slower stage, it is very tricky and technical and because of this there is lots of possibilities to make mistakes.”

Details of the RACMSA Rally of Scotland television package will be announced in due course.

NEW-LOOK WEBSITE & FACEBOOK PAGE FOR OCTOBER'S RALLY OF SCOTLAND

Posted: July 1, 2011 11:19 PM

The RACMSA Rally of Scotland has launched a new-look website and Facebook page ahead of 2011’s event (7-9 October) – the penultimate round of this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Its official site www.rallyofscotland.com has undergone a major facelift and includes a new video compiled by leading international sports broadcaster and IRC media partner Eurosport. Using overhead tracking footage shot from helicopters of the cars in action in 2010, the film provides a breathtaking and unique view of the stunning countryside in Perthshire and Stirlingshire that makes Rally of Scotland such a proud sporting event for the nation.

The revitalised site also enables media wishing to attend this year’s event to download accreditation forms while there’s invaluable information for fans including all the latest news in the build-up to this year’s event, route details, a stage timetable and the chance to sign up for official Rally of Scotland e-zines.

Furthermore, the site provides a list of local accommodation as well as valuable documents and contacts for marshals and competing crews.

In addition, Rally of Scotland has a new Facebook page – simply log onto Facebook and look up ‘officialrallyofscotland’. The page will be regularly updated with imagery, comment and links to latest news on both the rallyofscotland.com website and elsewhere on the internet.

There is also the official Twitter feed www.twitter.com/rallyofscotland to further keep fans and those involved in the sport regularly updated.

This year’s Rally of Scotland will take place on closed gravel roads through prime Scottish Forestry Commission land in Perthshire and Stirlingshire. Tickets can be bought ‘on the gate’ on the way into each stage at £20 per vehicle* – see www.rallyofscotland.com for more details.

The event will attract some of the world’s leading rally teams, drivers and cars – some still fighting for the IRC title, others out to achieve glory on what is widely acknowledged as one of the most challenging, spectacular and best organised rallying events in the world.

Some of rallying’s top makes are represented including Skoda, Peugeot, Ford, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Honda, Citroen and Proton. Leading UK names expected to contest the event are Scottish heroes Alister McRae and David Bogie and Darlington’s Guy Wilks – a title protagonist in this year’s IRC in his Peugeot UK 207. Skoda UK’s Norwegian driver Andreas Mikkelsen, second on last year’s Rally of Scotland, is also another of the star drivers in his Fabia. Plus there’s the rapid Harry Hunt, last year’s Champion in the IRC’s 2WD Cup for competitors in two-wheel-drive cars.

Adding to the entertainment value, a supporting National event for UK crews will also be held during the event using Saturday’s and Sunday’s stages.

* with the exception of Carron Valley’s stage on the Sunday morning (9 Oct) which is £10 per vehicle.

Rally of Scotland announces ticket details - simplified 'pay at the gate' strategy for 2011

Posted: June 15, 2011 9:08 AM

RACMSA Rally of Scotland organiser International Motor Sports has confirmed details of ticket prices and how to purchase them for this year’s event – the penultimate round of the high-profile Intercontinental Rally Challenge on the weekend of 7-9 October.

In a change to previous years, fans will now instead purchase single car park passes at £20 per vehicle at the entry to each of the stage car parks providing spectator access. The same ‘window sticker’ can be used when the IRC’s crews burst through a stage for the second time – provided fans return to the same car park.

The only exception is for the single run through the new Carron Valley stage on the Sunday morning when £10 per vehicle will be charged.

It will not be possible to book tickets for this year’s Rally of Scotland in advance. However, details of a host of excellent VIP hospitality packages that can be pre-booked will become available soon.

IMS Chief Executive Andrew Coe commented:
“‘Pay on the gate’ represents a new approach for us but, having listened hard to the Scottish rallying community and the fans who flock to the event, we are confident this represents a simplified and much more effective ticketing strategy for Rally of Scotland.

“And also even better value for money – four people per vehicle equals just £5 per person to see some of the world’s very finest rally drivers and cars in flat-out action on what are, given the truly stunning surrounding countryside in Stirlingshire and Perthshire, some of the world’s most spectacular stages.”

This year’s Rally of Scotland could see the crowning of a new IRC Champion as one and a half times the normal points on offer for a win will be up for grabs. That is expected to lead to a first-class overseas entry while also attracting a number of leading domestic crews eager to make a name on the international stage. In addition to the headlining IRC event and further adding to the entertainment, spectators will see a supporting rally for national crews being held on Saturday’s and Sunday’s stages.

The route for 2011’s Rally of Scotland was revealed recently – following a ceremonial start at Stirling Castle on the Friday afternoon, the first competitive timed stage mileage will take place on the new Carron Valley stage later that evening. The event then moves into Perthshire on the Saturday, taking in classic stages such as Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty before a return on the Sunday to Stirlingshire for another run through Carron Valley as well as two new tests, Loch Chon and the giant 27km High Corrie that will each be tackled twice. The Rally will then finish late afternoon on the Sunday with its two short final stages through the majestic grounds of Scone Palace near Perth – also the scene for this year’s ceremonial finish.

STAGE PLAN FOR 2011 RACMSA RALLY OF SCOTLAND UNVEILED

Posted: May 16, 2011 8:49 PM

The spectacular high speed route for this year’s RACMSA Rally of Scotland – the UK’s only round of the high profile Intercontinental Rally Challenge – has been announced with several exciting changes in place for 2011’s event.

Some of the world’s leading rally drivers and teams representing top makes such as Ford, Skoda, Proton, Peugeot and Subaru will be in action on the event that this year takes place on the weekend of 7-9 October on the undulating gravel tracks in the vast forests of Stirlingshire and Perthshire.

Again, the rolling countryside of both counties will provide a stunning backdrop for Rally of Scotland and will also show off the country in all its splendour before a potential global TV audience of millions watching leading international sport broadcaster Eurosport’s coverage of the event.

In addition, the fabulous setting plus the prestige of such a high level international rally will draw tens of thousands of motor sport fans from across Scotland and the UK. With invaluable support from volunteers, officials and marshals from the country’s motor sporting fraternity as well as expert organisational input from EventScotland, Stirlingshire and Perth & Kinross councils and Forestry Commission Scotland, it all adds up to a sporting event which carries great national pride.

During its three days (7-9 October), crews competing in this year’s Rally of Scotland will cover in excess of 1000km. More than 200 of those will be on the daunting special stages that will decide who is crowned the winner of this year’s event.

Cars will be waved off from a ceremonial start at Stirling Castle on the Friday (7 Oct) but then comes an immediate change with the first two bursts of competitive action being held on a new stage called Carron Valley near Stirling – a 9km test in the dark through the forests around Carron Reservoir. Crews will tackle the stage twice before heading to an overnight halt at Perth Airport.

All of Saturday’s action takes place in Perthshire and on what are some of the sport’s most revered stages: Craigvinean (near Dunkeld), Drummond Hill (nr Kenmore) and Errochty (nr Calvine). Each stage will be run twice, first in the morning and again in the afternoon. Both Craigvinean and Drummond Hill have had minor tweaks made to the end of their stages, the former now with a particularly hair-raising series of high-speed crests over its final two kilometres. Furthermore, Drummond Hill will be held in the dark – adding to the spectacle, atmosphere and sense of anticipation for public watching stageside.

Following another overnight halt at Perth Airport’s Service Park, Sunday’s closing action moves to Stirlingshire, starting with a third blast around Carron Valley. Crews then head towards Aberfoyle for two runs each through the Loch Chon and High Corrie stages – each incorporating sections of last year’s mammoth Loch Ard stage and split by a ‘remote’ service in Callander. Loch Chon’s flying finish is close to a Victorian aqueduct that forms a magnificent attraction in the middle of this enormous forest complex. At 27km, High Corrie is the longest stage on the event and could therefore provide a real sting in the tail.

Finally, it will be at Scone Palace where this year’s event is decided. The Palace’s magnificent grounds will host the event’s two final short stages as well as the podium celebrations – a fitting backdrop, for it was at Scone in years gone by that Scotland’s kings were crowned.

Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of Rally of Scotland organiser International Motor Sports, commented:
“The feedback each year from both UK and overseas crews has been that Rally of Scotland undoubtedly ranks as one of the best organised rallies anywhere in the world. This is testament to the dedicated and professional team which is drawn from the local network of Scottish motor clubs who run a truly world-class event of which Scotland can be justly proud. I sincerely believe that what is in store in 2011 for teams, drivers, officials, sponsors and, most importantly, the public, will make the Rally of Scotland a must-see event and we hope that as many people as possible will come out to support the event in October.

“The stages are among the most spectacular and testing the crews will ever face. Similarly, we continuously look for ways to improve the spectacle for the public and we will soon announce further plans regards access that will only enhance the experience. Details of our 2011 ticketing strategy will also be revealed in the near future.

“Meanwhile, our Clerk of the Course Iain Campbell and his team are, as ever, working tirelessly to ensure this year’s event is the best yet and our many thanks go to him and, of course, EventScotland, Stirlingshire and Perth & Kinross councils and Forestry Commission Scotland for their tremendous support and enthusiasm for this event which not only produces a terrific sporting contest but also further shows off Scotland’s majesty to a global audience.”

EventScotland, the national events agency, is continuing its support of the RACMSA Rally of Scotland for a third successive year. Its Chief Operating Officer Paul Bush OBE said:
“Amidst the stunning backdrops of Perth and Kinross and Stirling, this event certainly showcases Scotland as the perfect stage for motor sport.

“From Stirling Castle on the Friday night to Scone Palace on the Sunday, the spectators and TV audience will witness exciting action across some of Scotland’s finest natural landscapes and enjoy the splendour of some of our best known historical visitor attractions.”

Councillor Scott Farmer, Deputy Leader of Stirling Council and Portfolio Holder for Economy, Tourism & Finance, added:
“Stirling looks forward to hosting this exciting event, with Perth & Kinross, for the third year. With the introduction of the Carron Valley stages to this year’s route, spectators will be able to enjoy even more of the stunning scenery that Stirling has to offer.”

And enthused Councillor John Kellas, Perth & Kinross Council’s Enterprise & Infrastructure Convener:
“The Rally of Scotland is an extremely exciting event which we are pleased to welcome to Perthshire again. The opportunity to see top-flight rallying in our scenic countryside and enjoy the event atmosphere at Scone Palace is something I hope many people will take up later this year.”

2011 Rally of Scotland route at a glance (all timings provisional):
Friday 7 October
7.00pm Ceremonial Start, Stirling Castle
7.29pm Special Stage 1, Carron Valley (nr Denny) 8.61km
7.54pm Special Stage 2, Carron Valley (nr Denny) 8.61km
9.57pm Overnight Service, Perth Airport

Saturday 8 October
8.25am Re-start, Perth Airport
9.16am Special Stage 3, Craigvinean (nr Dunkeld) 16.54km
10.41am Special Stage 4, Drummond Hill (nr Kenmore) 13.16km
12.06pm Special Stage 5, Errochty (nr Calvine) 17.68km
4.11pm Special Stage 6, Craigvinean (nr Dunkeld) 16.54km
5.36pm Special Stage 7, Errochty (nr Calvine) 17.68km
6.48pm Special Stage 8, Drummond Hill (nr Kenmore) 13.16km

Sunday 9 October
9.08am Special Stage 9, Carron Valley (nr Denny) 8.61km
10.52am Special Stage 10, High Corrie (nr Aberfoyle) 27.08km
11.10am Special Stage 11, Loch Chon (nr Aberfoyle) 9.91km
12.08pm Remote Service, Callender
1.37pm Special Stage 12, Loch Chon (nr Aberfoyle) 9.91km
1.55pm Special Stage 13, High Corrie (nr Aberfoyle) 27.08km
4.50pm Special Stage 14, Scone Palace (nr Perth) 2.76km
5.12pm Special Stage 15, Scone Palace (nr Perth) 2.76km
5.24pm Podium, Scone Palace (nr Perth)

RACMSA Rally of Scotland to run from 7-9 October

Posted: March 31, 2011 3:30 PM

RACMSA Rally of Scotland, the penultimate round of the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, will take place from 7-9 October, one week earlier than scheduled.

The change of date from 14-16 October follows a request from several interested parties in Scotland and will ensure the correct level of volunteer personnel are available to guarantee the smooth running of the all-gravel spectacular.

Despite the change of dates, the IRC’s media partner Eurosport, Europe’s leading sports entertainment group, has renewed its commitment to show live coverage of Rally of Scotland and more details of the planned airtime will be announced in the coming months.

Geraldine Filiol, the Managing Director of Eurosport Events, said:
“We’re always keen to find solutions to help local organisers and this change of date works for all. The fact that there will be little affect to the live broadcast of the event on Eurosport in what is a very busy sporting weekend for live television is obviously great news and will help to ensure that RACMSA Rally of Scotland will once again be one of the highlights of the IRC season, especially with points and a half on offer to the first 10 eligible finishers. There’s also even more time for the teams to get their cars and equipment to Cyprus for the final event of the IRC season.”

Rally of Scotland was included on the IRC schedule for the first time in 2009. British driver Guy Wilks, in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000, took victory. Last year, Juho Hanninen finished first in a similar Fabia to secure the IRC drivers’ title for the first time.

Event Website / Details

Posted: January 2, 1990 3:05 PM

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