THE Port William crew of Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll celebrated an impressive top-20 finish on Saturday’s RSAC Scottish Rally – the fifth round of the MSA Scottish Championship.
Seventeenth overall in their Mitsubishi Evo 6 was the duo’s best result in the SRC since switching to 4-wheel-drive at the start of the season.
In both 2009 and 2010, the pair achieved class honours on the “Scottish” in a Vauxhall Nova.
Saturday’s result more than made up for the disappointment of three successive non-finishes since the car was debuted on the season-opening Snowman Rally.
Since a retirement on the Jim Clark Reivers tarmac round because of gearbox problems, Wilson had worked hard on the car to ready it for a return to gravel in the Dumfriesshire forests:
“We had a couple of minor problems, but certainly nothing major, and it’s been a very good day for us”, he said: “We tried a different make of tyre for this event, and they seem to have don the trick. We had a small nick in one of the, which we had to change, but apart from that they’ve been brilliant. It was a bit slippery in the last stage, and a wee bit rough towards the end but all in all it’s been an excellent rally”.
There was success too for Newton Stewart driver Mark McCulloch who finished as first 2-wheel drive competitor - 20th overall and first in Class 7 - in the Ford Fiesta ST in which he is contesting the BRC Challenge this season.
The 2008 Scottish Junior Champion had been seeded one car ahead of Dumfries driver Peter Stewart – also in a Fiesta – who won the Junior title last year.
However, the highly-anticipated tussle between the two petered out mid-way through after Stewart’s car suffered engine failure on the fourth stage.
“Pete put up a really good fight early on, it’s just a shame we couldn’t have continued it to the end”, said McCulloch, who was co-driven by regular navigator Craig Wallace: “We had a really good run today and scared a few of the four-wheel-drives into the bargain. I rather wish I could do the Scottish rounds as well as the BRC – the banter up here is so much better!”
However, there was disappointment for fellow Newton Stewart driver Craig McMiken who had to retire his Mitsubishi Evo 9 after one stage with a broken differential.
At the top end of the field, Castle Douglas ace Jock Armstrong claimed a dramatic victory after David Bogie was hit by a puncture just a few miles from the finish.
It was Armstrong’s first win on the “Scottish” – and his first victory in the MSA Scottish Rally Championship - since the Snowman in 2010.
Bogie had looked on course to take top honours on his home event for the second successive year in his Mitsubishi Evo 9 after he had built up a seventeen second lead over Armstrong going into the final stage.
However, the front puncture knocked the Dumfries driver back to third, with Mike Faulkner of Kirtlebridge securing the runners-up spot in his Mitsubishi Evo 6.
Armstrong, co-driven by Kirsty Riddick, completed the six stages in a total time of 43 minutes 16.1 seconds in his Subaru Impreza to finish 12.8 seconds ahead of Faulkner and Peter Foy. Bogie, with Kevin Rae from Hawick on the notes, was a further 11.6 seconds adrift.
The result has not affected Bogie’s lead in the MSA Scottish Championship. He has an eleven point advantage over Faulkner after five rounds, with Borderer Euan Thorburn, who finished fourth in Dumfries in his Mitsubishi Evo 9, a further point behind.
At the finish, a delighted Armstrong said he had long dreamed of a “Scottish” win: “I remember doing it years and years ago and I came away fourteenth overall, and then I was thirteenth overall and I thought if I do this for the next fifteen years I might win it one day!”
He went on: “We’ve always been there or thereabouts but it’s been a perfect result for us today. It’s been a good battle with three local drivers making it onto the podium and for once I’ve made it to the top step. We’ve had mixed results this season, but hopefully this will be the start of a rolling streak and we’ll persevere and see what happens”.
Co-driver Riddick, meanwhile, became the first female competitor to win the event since 1961 when John and Anne Melvin triumphed in a Sunbeam Alpine.
The sixth round of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the Gleaner Oil & Gas Speyside Stages on 6th August.
For news of all SRC rounds go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk
RSAC Scottish Rally – Dumfries and Galloway finishers with total times:
1st Jock Armstrong(Castle Douglas)/Kirsty Riddick(Haugh of Urr)Subaru Impreza 43 m 16.1 s
2nd Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi Evo 9 43.28.9
3rd David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Mitsubishi Evo 9 43.40.5
8th Rory Young (Kirkgunzeon)/Doug Redpath (Duns) Mitsubishi Evo 5 45.45.6
17th Fraser Wilson(Port William)/Steven Broll(Port William) Mitsubishi Evo 6 47.44.6
18th Ian Paterson (Mouswald)/Helen Brown (Auldgirth) Subaru Impreza 48.30.4
20th Mark McCulloch (Newton Stewart)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Ford Fiesta ST 48.46.2
24th Stuart Paterson (Collin)/Colin Maxwell (Kirkmahoe) Subaru Impreza 49.14.4
27th Liam Harkness (Thornhill)/Kenneth Marchbank (Thornhill) Ford Escort Mk2 49.24.9
34th Jim Robertson (Thornhill)/George Myatt (Ae) Citreon C2R2 50.52.2
38th Callum Bendall (Castle Douglas)/James Aldridge (Cullompton) Ford Ka 52.16.2
39th Duncan Wardrop (Dumfries)/Ian Crosbie (Penpont) Subaru Impreza 52.23.0
42nd Tam Brown (Dumfries)/Mike Curry (Lockerbie) Peugeot 205 52.48.8
51st Donald Peacock(Castle Douglas)/Scott Peacock(Castle Douglas)Peugeot 205 54.49.7
52nd Robert Paterson (Dumfries)/Neil Richardson (Lockerbie) Ford Escort Mk2 54.58.6
53rd Roy Eide-Johansen (Dumfries)/Mark Simpson (Moffat) Ford Escort Mk1 55.01.8
54th Richard Stewart (Dumfries)/Carin Logan (Kelso) Subaru Impreza 55.02.2
60th Ian Bendall(Castle Douglas)/Richard Barbar-Fleming(Castle Douglas)Vauxhall Corsa 57.52.5
61st Alan McMorran (Castle Douglas)/Albert Connelly (Castle Douglas) Peugeot 205 Gti 57.58.1