Scots head south to tackle World Championship encounter
Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy head a star-studded entry list in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX including multiple national rally champions for the 2016 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB National.
Faulkner and Foy, who finished third in the 2016 ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship, have won the event the previous two years so will be going for the hat-trick in 2016.
The National Rally includes 107 competitive miles and tackles all of the same stages as the World Rally Championship, but only includes one run through each test and does not allow a pre-event recce.
The SRC will be represented in Wales, with seventh seeds Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts entering the event in their Evo IX.
McCombie is known for his consistency, but given the magnitude of the event he would probably rather a strong finish than a consistent run. But his ability to avoid mistakes could serve him well on such a difficult event.
Just behind McCombie on the road and indeed in this year’s championship is Barry Groundwater and co-driver Neil Shanks. The Mitsubishi Evo X driver, like his Banchory rival, is renowned for being a consistent driver but will keen to put on a good show and claim a strong result.
Fraser MacNicol and Irish co-driver Aaron Johnston return to Rally GB in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI after retiring on last year’s event.
Iain Wilson and Keith Riddick finished their SRC season with some fine performances in their Subaru Impreza, and will be looking for another strong finish on Wales Rally GB.
Starting just behind in another albeit older Impreza are Lee Hastings and co-driver Christopher Robertson. Hastings has gained plenty of experience running in this year’s BRC National Cup, which could give him an edge on such a long and gruelling event.
The 2016 SRC Challengers trophy winners Scott McCombie and Mark Fisher are also making the trip down south for the National section of Britain’s World Championship round.
McCombie impressed in 2016 on route to the Challengers championship, so will be hoping to spring a surprise in the classic Welsh forests.
Jimmy McRae, father of 1995 World Champion Colin, will be out once again on the Wales Rally GB National in his epic Vauxhall Magnum, with Pauline Gullick calling the notes.
Ian and Kathryn Forgan are another crew to be taking on the “rally of legends”, in a Subaru Impreza. The pair competed on a selected number of events in the 2016 SRC in their class 7 Ford Ka, so monitoring their progress will be interesting.
Matthew Jackson and co-driver Claire Williams are another crew of interest as they are hiring a Subaru Impreza from SRC podium finisher Mark McCulloch.
Other Scottish entrants include Kevin Robertson/Murray Strachan (Evo IX), Simon Hay/Calum Jaffray (Evo VI), Robert Thomson/Steven Kerschat (Evo VII), Carl Tuer/Robin Tuer (MG ZR), Tom Coughtie/Calvin Colledge (Escort RS1800) and Geoff Goudie (Impreza).
Newly crowned ARR Craib Scottish Rally Champion Jock Armstrong was set to use his prize drive and start second on the road behind Mike Faulkner in his Subaru, but a pre-event crash has damaged his car and leaven the double champion with muscle damage, meaning he will not take the start.
The Scottish Rally Championship will be a large presence at the Deeside Rally Village across the weekend, with a large area catering for the crews mentioned above.
You can keep up to date with the SRC via the website www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk or through Facebook and Twitter (@MSA_SRC).