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Grampian Stages Rally - (Sat) 12 Aug 17

Posted: November 21, 2017 7:45 AM - 3479 Hits

Round 6 - 2017 Scottish Rally Championship

Bogie grabs Grampian as Thorburn seals SRC title

Posted: November 21, 2017 7:45 AM

Bogie dominates penultimate round of the Scottish Rally Championship as Thorburn takes the points he needs to secure second title

Whilst David Bogie and Kevin Rae took a commanding victory in Aberdeenshire, all eyes were on Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton whose second place was enough to nett them their second ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship title at the Grampian Forest Rally this weekend.

The Skoda Fabia R5 crew won the event by 58 seconds from Thorburn and Beaton’s Fiesta R5, with Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe completing the SRC podium.

A strong entry of over 80 cars descended on the small Aberdeenshire village of Milton of Crathes with one of the strongest top 20’s of any rally in the UK. Undeterred by all the championship talk behind him. Bogie was in fighting mood after a disastrous Ypres Rally which all but ruined his British Rally Championship season. The Dumfries driver took his frustration out on the stages, to draw first blood and open up a 14 second lead heading to first service.

Behind him it was predictably tight. Championship protagonists Thorburn and Armstrong held second and third, with Shaun Sinclair snapping at their heels in his Impreza S14 WRC. Mike Faulkner, Mark McCulloch and Bruce McCombie were enjoying a ding-dong battle in their Mitsubishi Evo IX’s while Fred Milne was impressing on his debut in the Impreza S12B WRC.

The 13 miles of Drumtochty North would prove crucial in the battle for overall honours and the SRC title. Bogie took the stage by 12 seconds, but importantly Thorburn edged Armstrong’s Subaru by 15 seconds to consolidate the second place he needed. Backing this up with another strong time on SS4, the Fiesta R5 pilot backed off in the final loop, sticking to the middle of the road in order to bag the all-important points.

His Skoda Fabia R5 rival however did no such thing, continuing to exert his dominance by winning all six of the rally’s stages. Bogie started the Grampian without a shot of a record sixth title, but has won more than any other driver this year with three victories to his name.

Bogie & Rae took all six stage wins on the Grampian Forest Rally - Image: Lindsay Photo Sport

“It was a brilliant day,” Bogie admitted. “These stages up here are some of the best in Scotland; they have such a great nature and were in a really good conditions so I enjoyed myself out there. I love the British Championship but it’s always nice to be back in Scotland where I have lots of family and friends and know a lot of the marshals. All in all it’s been a great day out!”

The biggest smile however belonged to Thorburn who reached the finish at Crathes Castle as a two-time Scottish Rally Champion.

“This feels pretty good, we’re double champions now,” he enthused. “The first one was special, we worked very hard for it but this one is just as nice so I’m delighted.

“Jock is a season regular in the Scottish Championship who know the stages just as well as anybody so we knew we’d be up against it this year but obviously delighted to have taken the championship. The pace in the SRC is right up there, always has been at the sharp end so it’s extra special to win it. We’ll be partying tonight!”

Armstrong and co-driver Paula Swinscoe made it onto the podium for the fourth time this year, but didn’t do enough to keep their title hopes alive.

“I almost went off through the final corners of the final stage, which was a pretty lary moment we got away with,” the outgoing champion explained.

“Well done Euan, a very good result for him. It’s never the best feeling to lose out but I’ve won this championship before and drove quite well today so I can be happy.”

Fourth was another solid result for Shaun Sinclair and Jamie Edwards but the Oban driver was left frustrated, feeling he should have done better. He finished just three seconds shy of the podium.

Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy came out on top of the Mitsubishi scrap to bag fifth, ahead of Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry who were waylaid with yet another puncture.

Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts returned to Scottish Championship action and were happy with seventh, ahead of the even happier Donnie MacDonald who also returned after missing the Argyll in his Ford Fiesta R5; the Inverness driver revelling in the Aberdeenshire stages.

Ninth and tenth places were filled by the leading two Challengers crews, who had an almighty scrap for supremacy.

The battle between Michael Binnie, Simon Hay and Iain Wilson was ferocious all day, with just six seconds separating the trio after SS2. Binnie stole a march in the next loop to head to second service with a 12 second cushion over Hay, only for the Evo VI driver to come back at him in the final two.

In the end a solitary second was all that split the two title rivals at the finish, with Binnie coming out on top on his debut in John Wink’s old Evo IX. Iain Wilson’s brake problems resurfaced but he recovered to take third, 19 seconds clear of John Wink who was debuting the Hyundai i20 R5 in the Scottish Rally Championship.

The battle for Scottish 2WD honours took a major twist when Mike Stuart rolled his Escort Mk2 on SS2. Having won the previous round in Argyll, Duncan MacDonald ran away to his second victory of the year to reignite his previously dwindling championship hopes. Angus Lawrie took an incredible second place in his Vauxhall Corsa on a giant-killing run, with Paul McErlean bringing his Escort Mk2 home third.

Finlay Retson made his SRC debut on the Grampian and marked it with a win in the Juniors behind the wheel of his Ford Fiesta ST. Gina Walker’s second place was important for her championship challenge, ahead of points leader Andy Struthers who took third; both competitors in Citroen C2’s.

The www.usedcarparts.co.uk Subaru Cup belonged to John McIlwraith for the second time this year. Matthew Thomson came home second in the category ahead of Michael Robertson.

The SRC John Horton Star Driver Award was awarded to Lawrie after his incredible pace and determination to win his class, come home second in the 2WDs and finish 22nd overall on the event.

“This certainly means a lot,” he revealed. “It’s been a goal of mine to receive this award ever since it was announced, it’s such a great opportunity. To be recognised out of all the competitors here today is really special and I am so happy! It’s great for all the team who are involved just as much as me, this is certainly a team sport.”

Lawrie joins Thomas Gray, Greg McKnight, Michael Binnie, Mike Stuart and Alex Pirie in an end-of-season shoot-out for a supported entry on a European event at the end of the year.

The Scottish Rally Championship concludes on the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally on Saturday 9th September. With Thorburn and Beaton taking the overall spoils, the focus now switches on the other categories in what promises to be an epic rally to close the season.

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.

The championship consists of seven forest events across the whole of 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 #SRC17.


Posted: November 21, 2017 7:43 AM

SRC enters decisive phase on Grampian Forest Rally

Posted: August 9, 2017 7:07 AM

The battle to become the 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Champion is set to resume on round six of the season, the Grampian Forest Rally this weekend.

The Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) has once again been a closely fought affair, with the battle widely expected to be between the two most recent champions: Euan Thorburn and Jock Armstrong.

Thorburn heads into the Aberdeenshire based event in a rich vein of form, having stolen his second win of the season from the grasp of Armstrong at June’s Argyll Rally. The Ford Fiesta R5 pilot hasn’t been off the podium all season, and together with Paul Beaton is targeting a second SRC title. A win on the penultimate round of the championship would secure the Duns driver the first title for an R5 driver in the SRC.

However, out to protect his own crown is Castle Douglas pilot Armstrong, with Paula Swinscoe calling the notes. The Subaru Impreza pairing have won the previous two Scottish Championship titles, but face their toughest challenge yet to make it a hat-trick of championships. Victory this weekend would keep the title battle alive into the season closing Galloway Hills Rally, where the defending champion would also have to win to become the 2017 title-holder.

The Grampian Forest Rally won’t all be about Thorburn and Armstrong however, with a quality entry list descending upon Milton of Crathes on Saturday.

Shaun Sinclair and Jamie Edwards take the start of the event determined to keep their own dwindling title hopes ignited, searching for a maiden win in their Subaru Imrpeza S14 WRC. Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy will be out for a good result after a disappointing spin on round five in Dunoon. The Evo IX duo have been challenging the front-running pace ever since acclimatising to their new machine, but have lost out on some results due to various issues.

Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry have also picked up their pace as the season has progressed and are a model of consistency; both in their results and at picking up punctures. Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts return to SRC action for the first time since the Speyside Stages in “Kermit” the Lancer, and could go very well on this, their home event, while Barry Groundwater also returns for just his second event this season in the Evo X.

Donnie MacDonald and Andrew Falconer return to SRC action in their Fiesta R5 after missing the Argyll Rally due to the clashing Ypres Rally, with five time SRC champion David Bogie also returning to the series in his Skoda Fabia R5.

The winner of both the Snowman Rally and the Speyside Stages this season starts the third northern event of the year as favourite, and although Bogie has no chance of taking a sixth Scottish Rally Championship title for himself, he could heavily influence the balance in this season’s race.

Having competed on two rallies in two different cars this year, SRC event winner Quintin Milne makes it three different cars from three events as he brings a Subaru Impreza WRC to the Grampian Forest Rally, with Sean Donnelly in the co-drivers’ seat. Not be outdone, Quintin’s brother Fred will also enter the event in a WRC Subaru, setting up a fascinating battle for sibling supremacy.

The SRC Challengers has been pulsating all year, with four different winners teeing up an incredibly close championship battle.

Simon Hay / Calum Jaffray and Michael Binnie / Claire Mole start the Grampian as joint championship leaders. Hay and Jaffray have been the class act for much of the year, finishing off the podium just once in Jedburgh and taking their first win of the year last time out in an ageing car.

Binnie and Mole have also been battling with an older specification Mitsubishi, but for round six have traded in their Evo V for John Wink’s Evo IX. Iain Wilson is hoping to use his previous experience from fighting for the Challengers last year to good effect as he looks to recapture his early season form, while Wink himself starts the event well in the title race, also with a new car that is causing plenty of intrigue.

Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford hold a slender 15 point advantage over Mike Stuart and Sinclair Young in the Scottish 2WD Championship, but can’t afford another bad result having retired from the last round. The two Escort Mk2 drivers need to look out for Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross who proved they are no slouches with an impressive win on the Argyll Rally in their Ford.

Angus Lawrie and Keith Riddick are expected to fight for front-wheel-drive honours, with the entry of reigning J100 Ecosse Champion Finlay Retson stirring up plenty of interest. He will make his SRC debut in his Ford Fiesta ST with Tom Hynd alongside.

Andy Struthers, Max Redpath and Gina Walker all start the Grampian in with a shout of the SRC Juniors Championship. The category has witnessed no repeat winners this year, with 17 year old Retson in with a chance of extending that run.

The www.usedcarparts.co.uk Subaru Cup is a close affair, with Colin Baxter leading Michael Robertson by a single point with two rounds left. John McIlwraith, Geoff Goudie and the returning Donald Brooker will be taking the fight to the leading two in Aberdeenshire.

The SRC John Horton Star Driver Award has prompted plenty of drivers to up their game in 2017, with Thomas Gray, Greg McKnight, Michael Binnie, Mike Stuart and Alex Pirie each receiving a nomination across the five rounds. The nominees are entered into a shoot-out later in the year for the chance to compete on a top European event for free, so this will be on the mind of competitors as they take the start of the Grampian Forest Rally this weekend.

The event is based in the cultural village of Milton of Crathes, with the first car leaving the grounds of the beautiful Crathes Castle at 9am. From there the crews head into the surrounding forests for over 40 miles of competitive action.

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.

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

Seeded Entry List

Posted: August 9, 2017 6:16 AM

No Driver/Co-Driver (Car) [Class]
1 David Bogie/TBA (Skoda Fabia R5) [12]
2 Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Fiesta R5) [12]
3 Jock Armstrong/Paula Swinscoe (Subaru Impreza WRX) [11]
4 Paul Bird/Stuart Louden (Ford Focus 07 WRC) [12]
5 Shaun Sinclair/Jamie Edwards (Subaru Impreza WRC S14) [12]
6 Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) [11]
7 Bruce McCombie/Michael Coutts (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) [11]
8 Mark McCulloch/Michael Hendry (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) [11]
9 Quintin Milne/Sean Donnelly (Subaru Impreza WRC) [12]
10 Donnie MacDonald/Andrew Falconer (Ford Fiesta R5) [12]
11 Freddie Milne/Patrick Walsh (Subaru WRC) [12]
12 Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) [11]
14 Scott McCombie/Mark Fisher (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [11]
15 Iain Wilson/Chris Williams (Subaru Impreza) [10]
16 Simon Hay/Calum Jaffray (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO6) [10]
17 John Wink/John Forrest (Hyundai i20 R5) []
18 Michael Binnie/Claire Mole (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) [10]
19 Duncan MacDonald/Neil Ross (Ford Escort mk2) [7]
20 Fraser Wilson/Craig Wallace (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [9]
21 Dougal Brown/Lewis Rochford (Ford Escort MK2) [7]
22 John Rintoul/Ross Hynd (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) [11]
23 Nigel Feeney/Abi Louden (Mini Cooper Countryman WRC) [12]
24 Mike Stuart/Sinclair Young (Ford escort mk2) [7]
25 Ross Macdonald/Matthew Johnstone (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [11]
26 Brian Watson/Caroline Will (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) [11]
27 Fraser Louden/Ashleigh Will (TBA ) [10]
28 Robert Thomson/Kyle Mackintosh (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [11]
29 Ian Forgan/Kathryn Forgan (Subaru Impreza STi) [10]
30 Martin Craik/Steven Brown (Subaru Impreza) [10]
31 Fraser MacNicol/Keith Boa (Ford Escort Mk2) [4]
32 Angus Lawrie/Paul Gribben (Vauxhall Corsa) [3]
34 Duncan Campbell/Michael Cruickshank (Subaru Impreza) [10]
35 Keith Riddick/Mairi Riddick (MG ZR) [3]
36 Matthew Thomson/Ian Graham (Subaru Impreza) [10]
37 Mike Grant/Graham kelman (Subaru Impreza) [10]
38 Paul McErlean/Niall Mckenna (Ford Escort MK2) [7]
39 John McIlwraith/Scott Young (Subaru Impreza GC8) [10]
40 Geoff Goudie/Murray Strachan (Subaru Impreza) [10]
41 Jim Robertson/Mike Curry (Citroen C2R2) [3]
42 Alex Pirie/Frazer Skene (Citoren C2 VTS) [3]
44 Neil Coalter/Hannah Cessford (Suzuki Ignis) [1]
45 Colin H Baxter/Donald John Campbell (Subaru Impreza GC8) [10]
46 Andy Chalmers/Martin MacCabe (Peugeot 205 GTi) [2]
47 Ross Hughes/Neil Ewing (Citroen C2 VTS) [3]
48 Robbie Beattie/David Finlay (Peugeot 205 GTi) [2]
49 Donald Peacock/Scott Peacock (Peugeot 205 GTi) [2]
50 Donald Brooker/Rachel Booth (Subaru Impreza) [10]
51 Neil Philip/Ian Philip (Subaru Impreza) [10]
52 Graeme Sherry/Richard Wardle (Citroen C2) [3]
54 Gina Walker/Richard Simmonds (Citreon C2) [3]
55 Finlay Retson/Tom Hynd (Ford Fiesta ST) [6]
56 Michael Robertson/Gary McDonald (Subaru Impreza) [10]
57 John O'Kane/Meghan O'Kane (Ford Escort mk2) [4]
58 Mike Moates/Chris Collie (Subaru Impreza GC8) [10]
59 Adrian Stewart/Sue Hynd (Peugeot 205) [2]
60 Michael Renton/Kenny Foggo (Peugeot 306 GTI) [6]
61 Andy Struthers/Alasdair McIlroy (Citreon C2 VTS) [3]
62 Max Redpath/Callum Redpath (Peugeot 205) [2]
64 Neil Redford/Duncan Daun (Honda Civic) [3]
65 Ian Milne/Sandy Milne (Ford Escort MK2) [5]
66 David McLoughlin/Graham Robertson (Peugeot 205 GTI) [2]
67 Steve McGregor/Malcolm Vie (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 3) [10]
68 Scott Burness/Andrew Forbes (Ford Fiesta st) [6]
69 Derek Duncan/Adrian Bruce (Subaru Impreza) [10]
70 John Brownie/Martin Forrest (Opel Kadett C) [7]
71 Colin Patterson/Gary Clark (Ford Escort) [4]
72 Charles Stewart/Gordon Wood (BMW 318ti) [7]
74 Kevin Crawford/Claire Martin (Mitsubishi Evo 5) [10]
75 Hector Macinnes/Jenny O Kane (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) [10]
76 Tom Howie/Charles Mackenzie (Talbot Sunbeam) [3]
77 Steven Crockett/Martin Henderson (Peugeot 205) [1]
78 Billy Falconer/Alan Falconer (Peugeot 205) [2]
79 Douglas Watt/Ian Parker (Ford Escort Mk2) [4]
80 James Campbell/Shona Hale (Talbot Sunbeam) [2]
81 Michael Davies/Jamie Edward (Volkswagen Polo GTI) [3]
82 Elvin Thomas Smith/Shannon Turnbull (Citroen C2 VTS) [3]
83 Ronnie Horne/Susan Macrae (Subaru Impreza) [10]
84 Harry Chalmers/Steven Hay (Subaru Impreza GC8) [10]
85 Martin Farquhar/Aiden Henderson (Peugeot 106) [1]

Wink & Forrest switch to Hyundai i20 R5 for SRC assault

Posted: August 9, 2017 6:06 AM

Hyundai R5 to make its Scottish Championship debut in the hands of John Wink

Huntly rally driver John Wink and co-driver John Forrest have sensationally purchased a Hyundai New Generation i20 R5 to compete in the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC).

The duo have campaigned a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX for the past few years but having sold the Evo to Michael Binnie, will make the Hyundai R5’s SRC debut on the Grampian Forest Rally on 12th August. The outing will mark just the fourth appearance for the Hyundai R5 on UK soil and the first in private hands.

“Ken Wood, John Forrest and myself have been following the progress of Hyundai in the WRC and were impressed with the effort they were putting in,” explained Wink.

“We knew in 2016 they were releasing an R5 model. Whilst competing on the Pirelli Rally we had a good look at the car Tom Cave was using, and saw it perform. It didn’t finish, but we knew why so it didn’t faze us. We therefore flew to Germany discuss a deal with Hyundai Motorsport.”

Behind the wheel of his Mitsubishi, Wink has battled hard in the SRC Challengers. The category, designed for competitors who have had no more than one top 10 finish overall since 2007 is one of the hardest fought in the series and Wink sits second in the standings with a home win on the Speyside Stages to his name. Whilst perhaps it is not the ideal time to switch cars in the middle of a championship battle, but Wink is firmly looking to the future.

“I’m absolutely chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel! We did a small test last week which went really well, the car feels great.

“The short-term target is to have a few clean and decent runs in the car and get a feel for it. We know we’ll probably go backwards in terms of pace until we gain confidence and skill in the car, but hopefully next year we can push a little more to try and achieve some good results.”

Welsh driver Tom Cave has proved the pace of Hyundai’s R5 in the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, but Wink will become the first driver to compete on the British Isles in a privately owned i20. The strength of the package and the attraction of doing something different pulled Wink into the deal.

“We just can’t wait to get going,” he enthused. “The Hyundai is different to what everyone else currently has. We feel the engine is a strong point and we like the way it is set up. The idea of upgrading to an R5 has been talked about for a short period, so with this opportunity arising we felt we just had to go for it.

“John [Forrest] and I share all the costs but with additional help from our great sponsors, we’ve managed to make this possible. We have been offered a tyre deal from Yokohama for the whole of next season too, which is extremely helpful and for that we are hugely grateful. We’ve had great grip and reliability from Yokohama this year, taking eighth overall on the Argyll Rally with the same tyres we did the Speyside with.

“John [Forrest] and I would like to personally thank everyone who’s made this possible and we’ll be digging our heels in to try and reward people’s help with some good results. We must also thank Hyundai Motorsport for their assistance and eagerness to get a Hyundai i20 R5 into the UK and the SRC. Please bear with us as we get to grips with this awesome car!”

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.

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

All to play for in Scottish 2WD Championship

Posted: July 22, 2017 4:46 AM

With 2016 Scottish two wheel drive Champion Grant Inglis not returning to defend his ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) title in 2017, the battle to become the new king of the class was blown wide open.

The series began in Inverness with the Snowman Rally, and it was local man Dougal Brown who would make the fastest start in his Ford Escort Mk2. Brown took the top spot ahead of Marty Gallagher and Thomas Gray who enjoyed a scintillating battle in their front wheel drive R2 cars to take second and third respectively.

Mk2 legend Steve Bannister made his usual trip north of the border from Yorkshire to contest the Border Counties Rally in Jedburgh, duly winning the class ahead of Brown and the Vauxhall Corsa of Angus Lawrie who kicked off his title aspirations in the Tweed Valley.

The Speyside Stages was all about the battle between championship leader Brown and fan favourite Quintin Milne. The pair were locked in an intense and entertaining fight on the Elgin based event 12 months ago, and history would repeat itself in 2017 in more ways than one. Milne and Brown traded seconds once again, but it was the Banchory man who would take the win ahead of Brown like he did a year ago, with Mike Stuart impressing in third in his similar Mk2, staying in touch with the leading duo.

The Scottish Rally marked the season’s half way point, and saw a battle between the two main title protagonists in the forest tests around Lockerbie. Brown took his second victory of the year, but he was made to work hard for it with a fast charging and ever improving Stuart behind in second. Brown was lucky to win at all, with his Escort sounding less than healthy when it returned to the finish ramp. Keith Riddick took a surprise third place in his MG ZR, profiting from Angus Lawrie’s misfortune; the Vauxhall Corsa losing a wheel in the final stage. Despite stopping the clocks ahead of Riddick, road penalties meant he slipped behind his class three rival.

The Argyll Rally presented a new challenge for the competitors, with the SRC returning to forests not seen in the championship since 2003. Dougal Brown wouldn’t get much of a chance to explore them, sliding off the road into a ditch on the first stage. Sniffing an opportunity, Duncan MacDonald who had endured a couple of difficult events put his championship challenge right back on track with an impressive victory in unpredictable conditions. Mike Stuart took second to draw level with Brown in the championship, with Irishman Paul McErlean taking advantage of the SRC Overseas Support Scheme to take third in class.

Ahead of the Grampian Forest Rally and the Galloway Hills Rally that conclude the season, the championship is finely poised.

“Up until the Argyll we had pretty much had the perfect championship,” said Brown. “We took first on the Snowman, second on the Borders and the Speyside then we were back on top on the Scottish but had a bad result on the Argyll, going off on the first stage. Mike [Stuart] has been closing the gap with every rally and is certainly putting the pressure on us.

“At the start of the season I wasn’t planning on doing all the events, but we had such a good run we couldn’t face not doing some. I definitely want to push to win it as I don’t think I’ll be back out as much next year with budget restraints and family commitments.”

“The season has gone better than we had expected,” explained Stuart. “To be sitting so highly in the 2WD Championship after being out of competition for so long has blown my mind, I honestly didn’t know how I’d fare. The competition is superb, we all seem to be really close at such a hot pace. I’m going home from every rally on such a high.
“We’re going to knuckle down and go into beast mode for the Grampian which is my home event. I want to get the best result I can. Even if I can finish second or third, just in class seven, I’ll be more than happy with that at the end of the year.”

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.

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

The next round of the SRC is the Grampian Forest Rally in on Saturday 12th August..

SRC Challengers set for a thrilling finale

Posted: July 19, 2017 3:40 AM

The race to be crowned the 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) Challengers victor has once again proved to be a closely fought affair, with four drivers in the hunt for the title with just two rounds remaining.

The SRC Challengers category made its debut in 2016, catering for any driver who has finished in the top 10 of an MSA event in the last 10 years no more than once. Scott McCombie and Mark Fisher took the spoils last year, but such is the pace in 2017, the front-runners are often found to be beating the current title holders.

Inverness hosted the opening round of the season, with the Subaru Impreza of Iain Wilson coming out the box in impressive fashion to take a strong victory ahead of Simon Hay and Ross MacDonald’s Mitsubishis.

Commanding his authority on the leaderboard, it was the Dalbeattie driver who would once again claim maximum points on the Border Counties Rally in Jedburgh for round two. Home hero Michael Binnie and co-driver Claire Mole took a popular second ahead of John Wink and John Forrest.

The tables started to turn as the SRC headed back north for the Speyside Stages in April. Wilson’s Impreza never made the podium and a sensational battle developed between local man Wink and Michael Binnie over the closing stages. Binnie held the initiative going into the final test but it was Wink who emerged in the clear to take a well-deserved victory. Hay and co-driver Calum Jaffray claimed their second podium of the year in third.

Wilson suffered more misfortune on the Scottish Rally, his Impreza failing to make the finish for the first time this year and this time, it was Binnie’s turn to take the win in dreadful conditions. Hay would take runner up and the fifth SRC championship contender home whilst Mike Stuart masterfully brought his two wheel drive Escort into third place.

The Argyll Rally witnessed an epic duel for honours in incredibly challenging conditions. Simon Hay had proved his consistency throughout the season but showed he has searing speed to go with it, taking an incredible seventh overall to win his first Challengers round. Wink had to settle for second with Binnie recovering to third after a first stage puncture.

With current dropped scores taken into consideration, Simon Hay and Michael Binnie are tied at the top of the table with Iain Wilson just one point behind in third and John Wink seven points shy of the summit, completing the top four.

“At the start of the season our aim was to get into the top 20, which is something we have achieved right from the start," said Hay. "To say back then that we’d be fighting in the top 10 would have been a joke between us and the service crew, but now we have finished there twice!

“Preparation is important for the final two rounds. We ideally need another win or even two to win the Challengers, which would be nice given we can’t compete in the category again next year. [Michael] Binnie is really quick and now he’s in a newer, upgraded Evo we’ll have to push even harder.

“It’s been a great year so far. We head both the Challengers and our class [ten] but the margins are so small so it’s definitely all to play for.”

“It’s very close this year,” agreed Wilson. “We gained a lot of experience last year; from the Grampian onwards we started to pick up our pace. We are heading into the final two rallies of this season looking to try and win them.

“Whoever is most up for it on the day seems to be coming out on top, it’s that close the right attitude can make a difference. Simon [Hay] has been a wee bit of a surprise to me this year, he’s driving very well but we knew Michael Binnie would be a contender and John [Wink] always goes well too. When we got the first two wins we thought ‘if we keep our head in the game here we’ll be alright’, but things change quickly.

“The Challengers and the class [ten] seem to go hand in hand, if you win the Challengers you win the class, but the Challengers is the one I really want.”

John Wink is right in the mix with one class victory to his name in 2017, but the Evo IX he used to overhaul Michael Binnie in the final stage of the Speyside now belongs to his rival. The Huntly pilot has a new car for the Grampian Forest Rally, but can’t reveal what it is due to his sponsors’ requirements.

“The Challengers has been really competitive this year, with probably some of the most exciting battles in the SRC,” he enthused. “We are looking forward to the next two rounds where we’ll just be pushing as hard as we can. It isn’t the ideal time to bring in the new car, in the middle of a championship battle, but we’ll be giving it our best in a maximum attack!”

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.

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

The next round of the SRC is the Grampian Forest Rally on Saturday 13th August.

Keep up to date with all the latest news via the website, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SRC17.

Entries Received / On Line Entry

Posted: July 3, 2017 10:04 AM

Available at:

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Posted: June 23, 2017 4:15 AM

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