Full capacity for Solway rally

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A host of motorsport stars from near and far will travel to the region this weekend to contest the www.UsedCarParts.co.uk Solway Coast Rally on the military ranges near Dundrennan.

The event, which is held annually and is organised by Solway Car Club, has attracted a capacity entry of 80 cars for the Senior event on Saturday, which will see competitors from the Five of Clubs, Scottish Tarmack and Borders Challenge Rally Championships all tackling the 45 mile event on the MOD ranges.

Mark McCulloch will be aiming to become the only driver to win the event four times in a row when he takes to the stages on Saturday in his Hardie Engineering/Signright Graphix Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. The Newton Stewart driver, who notched up wins with Elliot Edmondson (2013), Jim Haugh (2014) and Mairi Riddick (2015), will start as top seed, with regular Scottish Rally Championship co-driver Michael Hendry (Archiestown) in the hot seat.

The Hardie Engineering Subaru Impreza of 2012 winners David Hardie and John McCulloch (Dumfries/Newton Stewart) will start second.

A host of local drivers will be in competition, including the Greg McKnight with father Chris alongside as they make their tarmac debut in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, former winners Richard Dickson from New Abbey with Roger Alcorn alongside, Kirkcudbright driver Stephen Thompson, and Iain Wilson from Dalbeattie.

Making the trip from Wigtownshire will be Jim and Jamie McDowall and former podium finisher Jim Sharp, and they will be followed by the similar Subaru Impreza of Paterson brothers Stuart and Allan from Dumfries.

Rounding off the Top 20 will be ex-Scottish Rally Champion Murray Grierson and his son Mark, in a Ford Fiesta S2400.

Sunday’s event is a counter in three championships for junior drivers aged 14-17. 30 of the nation’s youngsters from the Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge, McGrady Insurance ANICC Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland and Kick Energy Junior 1000 Rally Championship will tackle the event in a selection of 1000cc cars. This is the first time this season that the three series have joined together, allowing those from Scotland and Northern Ireland to pitch themselves against the best drivers from the sister series in England and Wales. Josh McErlean (Kilrea, Northern Ireland) is the top seed in a Peugeot 107, but he will be challenged all the way by the Citroen C1 of current Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge leader Finlay Retson (Blairgowrie, Scotland) and Peter Bennett (Loughgall, Northern Ireland) in a Skoda Citigo. Local interest in the J1000 comes from Lewis Winder/Mike Baird (Dalry/Haugh of Urr) in a Nissan Micra, and Dumfries pairing Lewis Haining and Chuck Blair in a Toyota Aygo. Alice Paterson from Collin will start her third rally, and she will have Bing Crosbie of Penpont alongside in her Peugeot 107.

The popular event has again attracted generous sponsorship from Dumfries based DA Autoparts, with this event marking the 36th consecutive year that the Stewart family have supported the event. Both father and son Richard and Peter Stewart will be in action in a pair of VW Polo S2000s, with Carin Logan (Jedburgh) and Tont Marchbank (Thornhill) alongside.

The organisers Solway Car Club, winners of the coveted ‘MSA Club of the Year’ title in 2014, have made provisions for spectators, with spectator points in every special stage. Parking is available adjacent to the A711, a short walk from the Service Area at Girdstingwood, or at each of the spectator zones. The action will start at 9am on both Saturday and Sunday, and more information and maps can be found on the club’s website, www.solwaycarclub.co.uk

Local Interest:

1 Mark McCulloch/MichaelHendry (Dumfries/Archiestown) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX

2 David Hardie/John McCulloch (Kirkgunzeon/Newton Stewart) Subaru Impreza

4 Lee Hastings/Julie McGuire (Collin/Grangemouth) Subaru Impreza

6 Ian Paterson/Heather Grisedale (Collin/Workington) Subaru Impreza

8 Greg McKnight/Chris McKnight (Thornhill/Dumfries) Mitsubishi Evo 9

9 Richard Dickson/Roger Alcorn (New Abbey/Castle Douglas) Subaru Impreza

11 Stephen Thompson/David Crosbie (Kirkcudbright/Penpont) Ford Escort Mk II

14 Iain Wilson Mark/Fisher (Dalbeattie/Workington) Subaru Impreza

15 Jim McDowall/Jamie McDowall (Creetown) Subaru Impreza

16 Jim Sharp/Helen Brown (Stranraer/Dumfries) Subaru Impreza

17 Stuart Paterson/Allan Paterson (Collin) Subaru Impreza

20 Murray Grierson/Mark Grierson (Dalbeattie/Edinburgh) Ford Fiesta S2400

35 Willie Nelson/Craig Nelson (Dumfries/Haverfordwest) Subaru Impreza

37 Hugh Murdoch/Ewan Murdoch (Stranraer) Ford Escort Mk II

41 Keith Riddick/Mairi Riddick (Haugh of Urr/Dumfries) MG ZR

42 Richard Stewart/Carin Logan (Dumfries/Jedburgh) VW Polo S2000

44 Michael McKenna/Paul Gribben (Foxdale/Annan) Vauxhall Astra

48 Jim Robertson/Colin Maxwell (Thornhill/Dumfries) Citroen C2R2

52 Stewart Dodds/Robin Neil (Kirkcudbright/Haugh of Urr) Vauxhall Nova

59 Niall Cowan Jr/Thomas Bruce (Dumfries/County Durham) MG ZR

70 William Paul/Charles Blair (Castle Douglas/Dumfries) Vauxhall Nova

71 David Kirkpatrick/Colin Johnstone (New Galloway/Newton Stewart) BMW Compact 318ti

72 Gary Parker/Lynn Parker (Annan) Vauxhall Nova

74 Alan McMorran/Mark Simpson (Castle Douglas/Dumfries) Chrysler Avenger