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Snowman Rally - (Sat) 10 Feb 18

Posted: February 26, 2018 6:26 AM - 2581 Hits

Round 1 - 2018 Scottish Rally Championship

Video Clips

Posted: February 26, 2018 6:26 AM

In Car

Posted: February 11, 2018 4:10 PM

Fred Milne & Patrick Walsh (Subaru Impreza WRC) SS5


Posted: February 11, 2018 4:06 PM

Andrew Gallacher took his maiden rally victory on the opening round of the 2018 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC), the Arnold Clark Snowman Rally (10th February).

Gallacher, along with co-driver Jane Nicol held onto the lead of the unpredictable Inverness based event from the second stage, to win by a slender six second margin in their Ford Focus WRC.

Quintin Milne and Sean Donnelly went on an almighty charge over the closing stages to close the gap in their Subaru Impreza WRC, with Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer completing the podium in their Ford Fiesta R5.

Anticipation was high ahead of the 50th ever season of the series, with the previous three champions David Bogie, Euan Thorburn and Jock Armstrong all absent from the entry list.

Sensing his opportunity, Gallacher made the brightest possible start by drawing level with Mark McCulloch on the opening test. McCulloch and co-driver Michael Hendry were making their debut in a Fiesta R5 but a troublesome day saw the pairing finish outside the top ten.

Gallacher would then lose out to MacDonald in stage two, but won the next to retake the lead as the stage conditions began to deteriorate into a mix of damp gravel and ice. The Hurlford driver would open up a 24 second lead going into the final stage but with a brace of drivers within arm’s reach of victory.

Milne put in a superb drive through the final six mile test to whittle down Gallacher’s advantage, but it wouldn’t be enough to deny him his maiden SRC win and the chance to create history, replicating his father Drew’s victories of 1977 and ’79.

“They were very trying conditions,” Gallacher admitted.

“We had a relatively clean run through the whole day but there were still a few moments in there.

“We put new tyres on for the last stage after running old tyres all day, and thought we would just take our time, but I’ll be honest we were starting to worry we might be caught.

“We knew we had to wait on all the results coming through before we knew [we’d won] as it was such a tight battle, but an amazing feeling.”

Milne gave it his all to try and win his first SRC event since the 2013 Border Counties, but ultimately fell short, recovering from a slow start that saw him 13th after the opening stage.

“I felt really at home on that last stage, and took 20 seconds back from Gallacher,” Milne said. “We were a passenger in sixth gear a couple of times.

“I was getting quicker all day. I should’ve done a bit more practice as I’ve spent the whole day learning the car but a damn good result all things considered.

“Gallacher has driven well all day, as have a lot of others, in what were really challenging conditions.”

MacDonald and Falconer were early event leaders but fell backwards in the third test, overhauling Steven Clark and Paul Gribben’s Mitsubishi Evo V into the final podium place.

“The weather was changing, the stages were changing, the road position was changing but we can’t complain as in a car that’s this good, it makes no difference,” MacDonald said.

“The R5 was better in the short, twisty sections but those World Cars [of Gallacher and Milne] are so much quicker in a straight line, but it’s been a brilliant day.

“Quintin [Milne] did very well in that last one as believe you me, I was also trying my hardest.”

Reay MacKay and Keir Beaton were another crew to show strong pace. The Focus WRC pair were frequently in podium contentions, but a decision to run ice tyres backfired in SS5 when the ice melted, relegating them to fourth overall.

Clark was the big loser, falling from third to fifth in the final stage, but the Mostyn pilot was still content with a strong day behind the wheel of his older specification Mitsubishi.

John Wink and John Forrest grabbed their best ever SRC result with sixth overall as they continued to acclimatise to their Hyundai i20 R5. They were just four seconds shy of Clark’s fifth place.

Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts netted seventh in their Evo IX, just over a minute behind winners Gallacher and Nicol to underline the strong pace at the front of the championship.

Greg McKnight and Harry Marchbank powered their Ford Escort Mk2 into the top 10 with a fine eighth place finish in extremely challenging conditions for a two-wheel-drive car.

Ross MacDonald and Matthew Johnstone hired Donnie MacDonald’s Evo IX for the Snowman, and utilised its potential as they took ninth place, ahead of the returning Alan Dickson and co-driver Martin Forrest in an ex-Mark McCulloch Mitsubishi.

Wink and Forrest’s sixth place finish netted them the SRC Challengers win and subsequently a £250 discount on their entry to the Border Counties. MacDonald and Johnstone took second in the category ahead of Dickson and Forrest.

McKnight and Marchbank’s fine performance saw them open up an early lead in the Scottish 2WD Championship. They too will receive a discounted entry into round two.

Paul McErlean and Niall McKenna made a welcome return to the SRC with second place in the category, ahead of Paddy Munro and Seamus MacLean.

Finlay Retson brought his Ford Fiesta R2 home 21st overall to top the Junior podium by a comfortable margin. Niall Cowan Jr took second in his MG ZR, just 11 seconds ahead of Scott Burness’ Ford Fiesta.

The www.usedcarparts.co.uk Subaru Cup went the way of Brett MacKenzie and Lauren Murray, but only by eight seconds from Ross McFadzean and Laura Marshall. Donald Brooker and Rachel Booth grabbed third.

Pre-event favourites Mike Faulkner and Shaun Sinclair both hit trouble early on in the event.

Faulkner slid off the road in the icy conditions and rolled his Mitsubishi, while Sinclair heavily damaged the front end of his Impreza WRC with the unseen ice catching out the 2017 SRC podium finisher.

Mike Stuart’s Ford Escort Mk2 failed to start in scrutineering, ruling him out of the event before it begun, while Garry Pearson and Michael Binnie had to pull their entry with a leg and an arm injury respectively.

Once again the Snowman Rally provides an erratic start to the season with both the conditions and results being described as a “lottery” at times.

The next round of the championship heads south to the NCS Border Counties Rally in Jedburgh during March, where Gallacher and Nicol will start the event at the top of the SRC standings.

The 2018 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Reis Motorsport Insurance and KNC Groundworks Ltd.

The championship consists of seven forest events across Scotland, taking in over 300 competitive stage miles.


Posted: February 11, 2018 4:05 PM


Posted: February 5, 2018 6:24 AM

The ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) will awaken from its winter break this weekend, as the 2018 season kicks off in traditional style with the Inverness based, Arnold Clark Snowman Rally on Saturday 10th February.

With the final round of 2017 in Castle Douglas last September now a distant memory, predicting a winner for the season opener or indeed the championship will be a task only for the brave.

However, one thing is for certain, it won’t be last year’s SRC champion or vice-champion’s name engraved on the Snowman Rally winner’s trophy this year as neither Euan Thorburn or Jock Armstrong will not be making the trip North.

Thorburn and Armstrong were locked in a battle for supremacy throughout the 2017 season. The pair were separated by a handful of seconds on the Snowman 12 months ago, and the battle continued to rage on as the season progressed with Thorburn keeping his cool to take the title on the penultimate round.

With Armstrong, Thornburn and five-time champion David Bogie the only SRC victors across the entire 2017 season, the form book has well and truly been reset in 2018 with over 40, largely new, competitive stage miles lying between the crews and the perfect start to the season in Inverness.

Making a welcome return to the all-gravel series, Garry Pearson and new co-driver Paula Swinscoe head the entry list in their Ford Fiesta R5.

The Duns driver spent most of last year on the sidelines and aside from a one-off outing on the Pirelli International Rally, Pearson would be a mere spectator. The likeable Fiesta pilot came within one stage of winning a maiden SRC title in 2016, so will be determined to mark his return to the championship with a victory.

Starting at two are Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy in their Mitsubishi Evo IX. The duo hasn’t won an SRC event since 2015, and a long overdue a spot on the top step of the podium. Faulkner hasn’t committed to a full season in 2018 so may be tempted to push more for an overall win, not concerning himself with championship points.

Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry line up at three after another impressive campaign in 2017, although just what they will compete in remains to be seen. Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer start just behind in their Ford Fiesta R5, having won this event in snowy conditions two years ago.

Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts will also be eying glory in their Mitsubishi Evo IX, but they face a serious threat from behind with a trio of WRC cars lining up at six, seven and eight.

Quintin Milne and Sean Donnelly top the pile in their Subaru Impreza S11. Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol return to the series in their Ford Focus WRC while Fred Milne makes his second appearance in an Impreza S12B WRC. He’ll be partnered by Patrick Walsh.

Barry Groundwater and Neil Shanks (Mitsubish Evo X) and Steven Clark and Paul Gribben (Mitsubishi Evo V) conclude the top ten, with the latter a potential dark horse this year after some blinding stage times in 2017.

Former quad bike champion Lawrence Whyte is also certain to cause a stir. Whyte finished fifth place on his first ever rally, the Wyedean Stages, towards the end of last season in a Ford Fiesta R5. Armed with the same weapon for the Snowman, he starts at 15 with Stuart Loudon in the co-drivers’ seat.

Shaun Sinclair has made a very welcome made a late entry into the event. Sinclair was a regular podium finisher last season, and will draw on the experience of 2017 SRC Co-Drivers Champion Paul Beaton.

The fight for the outright win promises to be hot, but with unbeatable prizes on offer, the battle within the various classes and categories is poised to be even hotter.

The SRC Challengers has provided some of the most entertaining fights in recent memory. All drivers who have had no more than one top 10 finish overall since 1st January 2007 are eligible, with Scott McCombie and Michael Binnie winning the category since its return in 2016.

Both men really made a name for themselves in their title-winning campaigns, and have continued to impress since.

The Scottish 2WD championship has also always been closely fought, and with 2017 title winner Dougal Brown absent, the battle has been blown wide open.

All two-wheel-drive cars are eligible for points, so predicting a winner is nigh on impossible.

However with series form man Duncan MacDonald returning in his Ford Escort Mk2 and third placed man Mike Stuart re-joining the fray, the battle is finely poised.

Greg McKnight is an exciting addition too. McKnight stunned everybody with his performance on the Border Counties Rally last year in a Mitsubishi Evo IX, as he battled for the lead with Armstrong. This season he returns to the SRC, but in a potent Ford Escort Mk2.

There are plenty of front-wheel-drive runners looking to make a strong start to their seasons too.

Scott MacBeth is the highest seed in his Citroen C2 R2 MAX, and impressed on the events he completed last season. He will face tough opposition within his class however, with 2017 John Horton Star Driver winner Keith Riddick returning in his MG ZR and 2015 and ’16 Junior champion Thomas Gray debuting a Vauxhall Nova that used to belong to MacBeth.

Ally Currie is also expected to challenge, after finishing an impressive second in the BTRDA Fiesta ST Challenge in 2017. Finlay Retson is another who is sure to fly, driving a Fiesta R2 that used achieved several class victories in the hands of Thomas Gray. Honda Civic pilot Alex Ingram will be keenly monitored too. The Snowman marks Ingram's first ever forest rally.

For 2018 incentive to finish as top two-wheel-drive runner on an event has been heightened, with the event winner in both the 2WD and Challengers championship receiving 50% off their entry into the proceeding round of the SRC.

When it comes to incentives however, nothing quite topples what’s on offer to the SRC Juniors.

A full day of tuition with 1999 British Rally champion Tapio Laukkanen is on offer, as well as a free entry into the Wales Rally GB National, so coming out on top will be vital for the young driver’s career.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award to consider too. Entering its second year, the unique initiative sees one SRC registered competitor recognised for an outstanding performance on each round of the championship.

A panel of expert judges will nominate a driver on the Monday after each event who will be invited along to an end of season shoot-out to potentially join the Junior champion in the forests for some tuition with Laukkanen.

The 2018 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Reis Motorsport Insurance and KNC Groundworks Ltd.

The championship consists of seven forest events across Scotland, taking in over 300 competitive stage miles.

Keep up to date with all the latest news via the website, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SRC18.

Seeded Entry List

Posted: February 3, 2018 3:14 AM

Entries Received / On Line Entry

Posted: January 15, 2018 5:56 AM

Available at:

On Line Entry / Regulations / Event Website / Details

Posted: November 21, 2017 11:09 AM

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