Grampian Forest Rally Classes Review
Round-up from the penultimate rally of the Scottish Rally Championship
Round six of the 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) saw the championship head to the village of Milton of Crathes for the Grampian Forest Rally.
The event comprised of six special stages in the Aberdeenshire forests, with their flowing nature instantly appealing to competitors with a wide range of experience who once again enjoyed some incredible battles.
Neil Coalter and Hannah Cessford took their fifth Class 1 victory of the year despite an alternator scare aboard their Suzuki Ignis on the very first stage. Steven Crockett and Martin Henderson brought their Peugeot 205 home in second place, five minutes down on the flying Coalter and Cessford.
Class 2 belonged to Donald and Scott Peacock on the Grampian, the pair taking their first class win of the year in their Peugeot 205. David McLoughlin and Graham Robertson slotted in fourth overall but second of the SRC crews ahead of Max and Callum Repdath, both crews competing in 205’s.
Angus Lawrie and Paul Gribben dominated Class 3 to take a commanding win in their Vauxhall Corsa. The pairing finished an incredible 22nd overall and second of the two wheel drive crews to net the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award as well as the class win. Keith Riddick, with stand-in co-driver Kirsty Riddick finished second in their MG ZR with Jim Robertson and Mike Curry third in a Citroen C2.
Fraser MacNicol and Keith Boa returned to winning ways after two rounds away from the top step of Class 4 with victory in the Aberdeenshire Forests. The Ford Escort Mk2 crew beat the similar car of John and Meghan O’Kane into second with Douglas Watt and Ian Parker clinching third in another Escort.
Class 5 once again belonged to Ian and Sandy Milne in their Escort Mk2, the pair having now claimed four victories and two second places in the historic category.
Class 6 would witness a different winner from Luke McLaren and Phil Kenny for the first time in 2017, with the championship leader electing to miss this round. Finlay Retson and Tom Hynd made sure the Ford Fiesta ST kept up its winning streak taking victory from Scott Burness and Andrew Forbes whose similar example come home in second spot. Michael Renton and Kenny Foggo brought their Peugeot 306 home third in class.
Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross were the first two wheel drive crew home in 17th overall, taking the Class 7 spoils in their Ford Escort Mk2. The result comes off the back of a strong win on the previous round in Dunoon, with Paul McErlean and Niall McKenna going one better than their Argyll result with second. Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford had a difficult day out but were happy to grab a points finish with third in class.
Fraser Wilson and Craig Wallace bagged 18th overall and the Class 9 win in their Group N specification Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX.
The battle for Class 10 was an intense affair and came down to the very last stage. Michael Binnie and Claire Mole emerged victorious by just a single second on their debut in a newly acquired Mitsubishi Evo IX. Simon Hay and Calum Jaffray were the crew beaten to the win, but were pleased to have clawed back some time on the leaders during the afternoon in their older Evo VI. Iain Wilson and Chris Williams were a close third on what looks to be Wilson’s penultimate round in the Subaru Impreza.
Jock Armstrong and Paula Swinscoe took fourth overall and third SRC crew home in their Subaru Impreza to win Class 11 on their final outing together. Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy brought their Evo IX home second ahead of the similar machine of Mark McCulloch and Michael Hendry.
David Bogie and Kevin Rae bagged the overall win and the Class 12 spoils in their Skoda Fabia R5. Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton were second overall and second in class in their Ford Fiesta R5, which gave them the points they needed to secure the 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship title.
Shaun Sinclair and Jamie Edwards secured another class podium in their Subaru Impreza S14 WRC, finishing in fifth place overall and third in class.
The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.
The championship consists of seven forest events across the whole of Scotland, taking in over 300 competitive stage miles.
The next and final round of the SRC is the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally on Saturday 9th September.