Tough Granite for local crews

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LOCAL crews endured a difficult day in the Kincardineshire forests on Saturday’s CARS Recovery Granite City Rally – the third round of the MSA Scottish championship.

Craig McMiken from Newton Stewart managed to bring his Mitsubishi Evo 9 home in 20th place overall, but turbo problems halted the challenge of Port William duo Fraser Wilson and Steven Broll in their Evo 6 - however, once the turbo was repaired, they were allowed under the regulations to take part in the Trophy Rally, which they went on to win.

McMiken, with Ian Clark standing in for Christine Sanderson on the notes, had been hoping for a repeat of last year’s excellent tenth place on the challenging event, but he knew it would be difficult, given the level of competition in this year’s championship.

“Things didn’t go too smoothly to be honest”, said McMiken: “We had a problem on the third stage when our underguard protection came loose and rubbed against the wheel. We got it sorted at service, but then the fourth stage was very, very rough and it was difficult to make up time. But we got a finish”.

Following a non-finish on the previous Border Counties round, Wilson had had his car “re-mapped” – giving him an extra 40hp – and changed the suspension set-up.

However, turbo snags caused problems early on, and the Clone Motorsport crew were officially retired at the end of the third stage – the car being towed back to the service area at RAF Edzell. Once repaired, they were allowed to continue under the Trophy Rally rules, which again gave them valuable in-car experience.

At the top end of the leader board, defending champion David Bogie was denied his third consecutive win of the season – losing out to former title-holder Dave Weston by just one second after completing the six gruelling stages totalling 44 miles.

The result also brought to an end an eight-round winning streak in the Scottish Rally Championship for Bogie starting with last year’s Granite.

However, the Dumfries driver still leads the championship by eight points from Kirtlebridge-based Mike Faulkner, who finished fourth in Aberdeen.

It was a deeply frustrating day for seventh-placed Jock Armstrong of Castle Douglas, who, with navigator Kirsty Riddick, had been aiming to get their SRC campaign back on track after a non-finish on the Border Counties when the gear-stick snapped on their Subaru Impreza.

“We lost a minute with a puncture on stage four, and on a short rally, any loss of time, and it’s game over”, said Armstrong: “It wasn’t as though we’d clipped or hit anything, it was just very rough along the edges, and when I went to turn into a tight right-hander we knew something was wrong. It was disappointing to say the least”.

The Castle Douglas father and son crew of Donald and Scott Peacock finished 47th overall, fifth in class in their Peugeot 205 – and are now aiming to do the next round of the 205 Challenge on the RSAC Scottish Rally in June.

Meanwhile, the fourth round of the SRC is the Jim Clark Reivers Rally based in Duns on 29th May.

For news of all rounds go to www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk

Granite City Rally – Dumfries and Galloway finishers with total times

2nd David Bogie (Dumfries)/Kevin Rae (Hawick) Mitsubishi Evo 9 44 mins 11 secs

4th Mike Faulkner (Kirtlebridge)/Peter Foy (Bingley) Mitsubishi Evo 6 45.30

7th Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas)/Kirsty Riddick (Castle Douglas) Subaru Impreza 45.58

20th Craig McMiken (Newton Stewart)/Ian Clark (Glasgow) Mitsubishi Evo 9 49.34

26th Richard Stewart (Dumfries)/Carin Logan (Kelso) Subaru Impreza 51.02

28th Peter Stewart (Dumfries)/Craig Wallace (Kirriemuir) Ford Fiesta ST 51.08

32nd Liam Harkness (Thornhill)/Peter Marchbank (Thornhill) Ford Escort Mk2 51.51

34th Iain Haining (Dumfries)/Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova 52.21

47th Donald Peacock (Castle Douglas)/Scott Peacock (Castle Douglas) Peugeot 205 57.32