Round 3 Preview. The Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally – Motorsport UK Scottish Rally Championship

28th June 2024

Round 3 Preview. The Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally

Just 4 weeks removed from the Beatson’s Jim Clark Reivers Rally the Asset Alliance Group Scottish Rally Championship descends upon Argyll for the 2nd all tarmac round of the season, the Dunoon Presents… Argyll Rally.

One of the trickiest rallies in the championship, challenging stages normally combine with adverse weather conditions to properly test the competitors’ skills.

The 1st big headline is the late entry of the championship leaders, Euan Thorburn & Paul Beaton. The Polo crew making their 1st tarmac start at Argyll but with the likes of David Bogie, Finlay Retson & Jock Armstrong missing from the entry list, it’s a great chance for them to strengthen their position at the top.

That won’t be easy because headline number 2 is the return to the SRC of former Mull and Grampian winner John MacCrone. The Rally 2 Fiesta pilot is joined in the car by former Scottish Champion Kirsty Riddick and should be right on the pace on these roads.

There are plenty of other threats too. Hugh Brunton & Drew Sturrock have had a year of rapid pace but absolutely no luck in Scotland. The Fabia lead Argyll last year before an accident put them out.

Top scorers in Argyll last year, Rory Young & Allan Cathers retired at the same point as Brunton & Sturrock on the Reivers. They guided their Citroen C3 to the top spot on the 2023 Argyll and will be looking to replicate that in their Polo this year.

Michael Binnie & Claire Mole were one of the closest challengers to Young & Cathers in 2023, sticking their Evo 9 on the podium. 2024 has not been their year so far in their Fiesta, having issues at the Speyside and not seeing the start of the Jim Clark. Hopefullt they can turn things around in Argyll.

Mark McCulloch & Michael Hendry were also on the podium at this event in 2023 and repeated that feat on this year’s Reivers. The Proton Satria Evo a weapon on tarmac, particularly when things are wet which should bode well for the Argyll stages.

Other top crews in the mix include John Wink & Keir Beaton, Ian Forgan & Chris Lees, Willie Paterson & Tom Hynd and John Rintoul & Ross Hynd.

Greg McKnight & Harry Marchbank top the G&M Mechanical Services 2wds, the MK2 Escort crew have already taken a win at the opening round and pushed David Bogie & John Rowan all the way at the Reivers.

Albyn Garage

Johnnie Mackay & Rachel Matheson just headed the yellow MK2 at the end of the Jim Clark, the Evo 7 seeded 1st of the Albyn Garage Challengers. Johnnie traditionally goes very well in Argyll and the Mitsubishi man could definitely upset some R5s.

They’re followed by Robb Cotton & Ethan Kidd’s Subaru Impreza. Bursting on to the SRC scene at the Reivers they immediately took a win in the Groundwater Lift Trucks Subaru Cup and were big players in the Challengers battle.

They’re joined in the Subaru Cup battle by Speyside category winner Jordan Anderson, accompanied for this round by Barry Young, and by Martin Burke & Alice Paterson. Martin & Alice hoping for a better run than their Jim Clark experience where they put the car off on the SRC livestream.

Also ones to watch in both 2wds and Challengers, Gordon Morrison & Ian Parker always go well in Argyll. The grey MK2 crew also embroiled in their private battle for bragging rights with both Barry Groundwater & Brian Watson.

Other Challengers to look out for include:

Craig Rutherford & Ian Fraser, looking to bounce back after a difficult Jim Clark.

David Ross & Kyle Mackintosh, given the monumental task of keeping their DAM Metro 6r4 pointed in the correct direction on these difficult stages.

Orrin McDonnell returns to the SRC with John Forrest in the Evo’s hotseat while regular navigator Claire Fraser enjoys being a new Mum.

David Hardie & John McCulloch were top 2wd on last year’s Argyll, they line up just in front of Paddy Munro & Andrew Stevenson.

Had Energy

Gordon Murray & Peter Carstairs have taken top honours in the Haddo Energy Super Seniors on both the opening rounds of the season in their big Escort. Richard Stewart lines up to challenge them in his 208 R4, navigated on this occasion by Owen Paterson.

Walter Henderson & Jim Kinloch are the 3rd Super Seniors seed. The Escort crew looking to bounce back after an unfortunate argument with a gatepost put them out of the Jim Clark.

Moates Offshore

Justin Gunning & Michael Moates top the Moates Offshore Juniors seeding. The Clio crew looking to kickstart their season after an off at the Speyside and Michael’s early retirement alongside Euan Syme in the MG3.

Points leader Meghan O’Kane took the Juniors win at the Jim Clark in her Fiesta R2. Meghan is the only SRC ladies driver at Argyll and has form on these stages, enjoying an excellent battle for top Lady in 2023 with Ashleigh Morris.

Christopher Smith & Amy McCubbin continue their 1st season in the SRC, the Corsa has taken 2 class M1 wins and Christopher lies 2nd in the Juniors after 2 rounds.

Lochlan McIver & Cameron Morrison return after missing the Jim Clark, the Fiesta sporting new suspension for this round. Lochlan & Cameron won’t be looking to repeat their performance from last year where they retired on the Friday night.

7 stages will take place on the evening of Friday the 21st of June, kicking off with the traditional 2 runs through Dunoon town centre, before 11 more stages round out the evnt on Saturday the 22nd. Keep up with live coverage and updates on the Asset Alliance Group Scottish Rally Championship Facebook page.

images courtesy of AF Motorsport Media