There were two top 12 places and a class win for Wigtownshire rally crews on Saturday’s Coltel Granite City Rally in Aberdeen.
Newton Stewart’s Mark McCulloch and Craig McMiken finished 10th and 12th overall respectively on the completion of the five stages, while Port William’s Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll limped home in a damaged car but still managed to take top honours in the Group N category.
The second round of the 2013 ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship was played out in near perfect conditions compared to the ice and snow of the previous Border Counties event, and it showed in the pace and closeness of the competition.
McCulloch, co-driven by Elliot Edmondson from Milton Keynes, was never outside the top 15 fastest times, and his best effort – eighth quickest – came on the penultimate nine-mile Durris stage.
He said: “The car has gone very well apart from a turbo pipe problem which meant we were losing boost. We got it fixed at service, and it made a huge difference on the fourth stage, but I think it went again on the last stage and we dropped a bit of pace. A new jubilee clip and it’ll be good to go!”
McMiken was delighted with his day’s work alongside Kirriemuir co-driver Craig Wallace: “It’s been an excellent day. If we’d said at the start of the rally that we’d finish in the top fifteen I think we’d have been happy, but 12th is a very good result for us,” said McMiken.
“The stages were good, apart from the second last one, which was a bit rough. We had a slight fuel problem with the car on the last couple of stages, it wasn’t pulling away, but we’ll get that sorted.”
As for Group N victors Wilson and Broll, the first three stages were relatively uneventful, and the EVO only needed a spanner check at service. However, the second half of the day proved altogether different, and Wilson had to nurse the sick-sounding car back to the finish at Duthie Park, in 19th place overall. He said: “We left most of the exhaust lying on stage four somewhere – it was so rough it snapped it clean off at the back,” said Wilson.
“We also punctured the back wheel. Then we went into the last stage and snapped the fan belt and did the last nine miles with no power steering, no water pump, and no alternator. It’s a wonder the engine wasn’t boiling by the time we got back to the finish. I reckon the car will need a rebuild before the Jim Clark in June.”
Meanwhile, Sandhead-based navigator James Haugh and Dumfries Subaru Impreza driver Ian Paterson also endured a difficult day on their way to 30th: “Stage four, off-side rear puncture, about three miles in. There was a pile of stones across the stage and we had nowhere to go – we just had to hit them. So that kind of ruined the day, but apart from that the last stage wasn’t too bad, and the third stage was brilliant!”
At the top end of the leaderboard, defending Scottish champion David Bogie threw down the gauntlet to his challengers with an emphatic win – his third Granite victory in the past four years.
The Dumfries driver led from start to finish in his ex-Colin McRae Ford Focus WRC, with co-driver Kevin Rae, and now leads the championship by one point.
Over the first three stages, Bogie traded times with Jock Armstrong from Castle Douglas in his Subaru Impreza. Five seconds adrift of Bogie after the first stage, Armstrong, co-driven by Kirsty Riddick, took two seconds out of the champion on the second Drumtochty test. Bogie hit back on SS3 Glenfarquhar and went into the service stop with a twelve second advantage over Armstrong. However, what was shaping up to be a close-fought battle at the front came to an abrupt end when, a mile into the fourth stage, the engine of Armstrong’s Impreza expired.
The third round of the 2013 SRC is the Duns-based Jim Clark Reivers Rally on 2nd June.
For news and updates on all SRC events, go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk
Granite City Rally – Dumfries & Galloway finishers with total times:
1st David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Ford Focus WRC 42 mins 25 secs
3rd Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi EVO 9 42.25
10th Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/Elliot Edmondson (Milton Keynes) Subaru Impreza 45.25
12th Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Mitsubishi EVO 9 46.00
19th Fraser Wilson (Port William)/Steven Broll (Port William) Mitsubishi EVO 8 47.45
30th Ian Paterson (Dumfries)/James Haugh (Sandhead) Subaru Impreza N10 50.13
36th Iain Haining (Locharbriggs)/Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova 50.38
37th Iain Wilson (Dalbeattie)/Keith Fremantle (Dalbeattie) Vauxhall Nova 50.41
38th Richard Stewart (Lochfoot)/Walter McDonald (Thornhill) Subaru Impreza 50.44
55th Jim Robertson (Thornhill)/Colin Maxwell (Dumfries) Citreon C2R2 53.34
56th Scott Peacock (Bridge of Dee)/Keith Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Peugeot 205GTi 53.49
73rd Scott Sloan (Dumfries)/David Sloan (Dumfries) Vauxhall Corsa 1.00.02