Wigtownshire rally ace Mark McCulloch has faced a race against time to prepare his car for this weekend’s RSAC Scottish Rally in Dumfries.
The Newton Stewart driver was forced to retire from the Jim Clark Reivers tarmac round of the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship at the beginning of June, when his Subaru Impreza started to overheat. Since then, the engine has been completely dismantled in a bid to get to the root of the problem.
“It’s been a bit touch and go getting it ready for the Scottish to be honest,” said McCulloch. “So long as the overheating issue is sorted, then the rest of the car should be ready in time.
“As for a target on the day, a finish has to be the outright aim. However, if we complete all the stages, and have a clean run, then I’d really hope to be in the top 15, and possibly the top 10, as we were on the Granite City Rally.”
McCulloch swapped seats this past weekend, when he co-drove for Dumfries competitor Peter Stewart, who returned to competition on the DMACK Carlisle Stages after a long absence because of injury. The pair ended the day as class winners in Stewart’s newly-acquired Ford Fiesta R2.
On Saturday, McCulloch and navigator Elliot Edmondson start three places ahead of the Mitsubishi EVO 9 of Newton Stewart’s Craig McMiken. He will be alongside McCulloch’s former co-driver Craig Wallace from Kirriemuir.
Meanwhile, Port William crew Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll will be targeting Group N honours in their Mitsubishi EVO 8. The car ended up in a ditch on the Reivers, but there was little or no damage, and all that was required was a visit to the paintshop. Wilson currently sits third in the GpN drivers’ points, while Broll is second in the co-drivers’ standings.
James Haugh from Sandhead will be back on the notes for Dumfries driver Ian Paterson in his Subaru Impreza. The pair were also non-finishers on the Reivers, when the petrol cap of the car came loose, spilling fuel into the cockpit.
Defending champion David Bogie is strongly tipped for overall victory on his home event, which, after a gap of seven years, is also a round of the British championship. He holds a seven-point advantage as the Scottish series reaches the midway stage. Twice a winner on his local rally, and with two back-to-back victories so far this season in his Ford Focus WRC, Bogie is “quietly confident” of further success as he and Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae eye a fifth straight SRC title.
Jock Armstrong and co-driver Kirsty Riddick – winners of the Scottish in 2011 – will be pushing for a big points haul following disappointment on the tarmac round. The Castle Douglas duo were on course for a podium place when their Subaru Impreza picked up a puncture, losing them valuable time.
The pair were also in action last weekend on the DMACK Carlisle Stages, and managed to finish third, despite a “flattened” exhaust and rear puncture.
Full details of Saturday’s event, including start times and spectator points, can be found at www.scottishrally.co.uk.
RSAC Scottish Rally: Dumfries & Galloway competitors with car no:
1 David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Focus WRC
3 Jock Armstrong (Clarebrand)/Kirsty Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Subaru Impreza
5 Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi EVO 9
12 Rory Young (Kirkgunzeon)/Allan Cathers (Brampton) Mitsubishi EVO 5
16 Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/Elliot Edmondson (Milton Keynes) Subaru Impreza
19 Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Mitsubishi EVO 9
20 Fraser Wilson (Port William)/Steven Broll (Port William) Mitsubishi EVO 8
23 Ian Paterson (Dumfries)/James Haugh (Sandhead) Subaru Impreza
28 Richard Dickson (Dumfries)/George Myatt (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza
29 Richard Stewart (Dumfries)/Kenneth Marchbank (Thornhill) Subaru Impreza
30 Robert Harkness (Stewarton)/Mike Curry (Lockerbie) BMW 316i
32 Stuart Paterson (Dumfries)/Colin Maxwell (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza
53 Graeme Smith (Crossford)/Laura Marshall (Newton Stewart) Honda Civic
57 Peter Stewart (Dumfries)/tba Ford Fiesta R2
59 Iain Haining (Locharbriggs)/Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova
60 Iain Wilson (Dalbeattie)/Keith Fremantle (Dalbeattie) Vauxhall Nova
61 James Robertson (Penpont)/Claire Robertson (Penpont) Citreon C2R2
66 Scott Peacock (Bridge of Dee)/Keith Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Peugeot 205Gti
72 Charles Blair (Dumfries)/Mark Roberts (Dumfries) Peugeot 205Gti
75 Alan McMorran (Castle Douglas)/Albert Connelly (Castle Douglas) Peugeot 205
78 Scott Sloan (Dumfries)/David Sloan (Dumfries) Vauxhall Corsa