Monday, 22 May 2017

Rally - Ogier in Portugal

With his second victory of the season, Sébastien Ogier increased his FIA World Rally Championship lead in Portugal at the weekend beating Thierry Neuville by 15.6 seconds.

“After the struggle we had in the last round, it’s fantastic to be back on the top step of the podium again,” said Ogier, "we had a new car in Monte-Carlo and we won. I had a new car here and we won. I’m not sure if the team can afford to give me a new car for every rally!”

Ogier was just one of seven different drivers to lead this sixth round of the series. Neuville topped the standings in his Hyundai i20 Coupe after Thursday night’s opening speed test, but slipped back before recovering to second. Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo finished a further 46.1sec behind in third.

Ott Tänak looked to be the man to beat on Saturday. He led before swiping a bank and breaking his Fiesta’s suspension and brakes. He recovered to finish fourth, almost half a minute adrift of Sordo.

Craig Breen was again the leading Citroën C3 driver in fifth, the fourth occasion in six rallies he has occupied that position. He was 27.2sec adrift of Tänak, but well over a minute clear of Elfyn Evans’ Fiesta which had lost time on the first day with a puncture and a slight 'off'.

On the second stage of the rally Kris Meeke and Craig Breen moved up to join the frontrunners and at the end of the morning loop, Kris was second overall, half a second behind Latvala, whilst Craig was fourth, 1.4s adrift of the leader.

Meeke moved into first place at the end of SS5. But on the next stage, the lead changed hands for the sixth time in as many stages when Kris dropped down to fifth overall due to a slow puncture.

On SS7, widely expected to be the most demanding on the cars, Meeke damaged part of the suspension following an impact with a concrete block. Like two other potential winners, he dropped out of the leading group.

Despite suffering a broken damper a few kilometres into SS7, Breen managed to hold onto fourth position. The Irishman lost a few more seconds on the two Braga super special stages, ending the leg 12.9s behind the rally leader, Tänak.

1. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:42:55.7
2. Neuville / Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +15.6
3. Sordo / Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC) 1:01.7
4. Tänak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 1:30.2
5. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +1:57.4
6. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:10.6
7. Hänninen / Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:48.9
8. Østberg / Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +5:29.7
9 Latvala/Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +5:43.6
10 Lappi/Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +8:13.3

Drivers' Standings:
1. Sébastien Ogier - 128
2. Thierry Neuville - 106
3. Jari-Matti Latvala - 88
4. Ott Tänak - 83
5. Dani Sordo - 66
6. Elfyn Evans - 53
7. Craig Breen - 43
8. Hayden Paddon - 33
9. Kris Meeke - 27
10. Juha Hänninen - 21

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Rally - A wee treat

Tom Hynd kindly sent me a wee note telling me that Finlay Retson had put a video clip from last Friday's pre-Scottish gravel test up on his Facebook page and just thought I might be interested. I was, and I'm sure you lot will too. Remember, this was the 17 year old's first time out in his Ford Fiesta ST. It was also his first drive in a left hand drive car, first time with a proper LSD and first time in a car with power - as opposed to his previous 1 litre Citroen C1! So sit back and watch. Listen to Tom calling the Notes and watch the response and reactions in the driving seat. A wee treat for the eyes, eh? Gaun yersel Finlay.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Rally - Bogie takes BRC

David Bogie has won the Nat A RSAC Scottish Rally from Osian Pryce and Martin McCormack. Going into the final stage he had a 0.1 second advantage over Fredrik Ahlin setting up a fabulous race for the points. Sadly it all went wrong for Fred when a stone punctured his radiator and that was it. Euan Thorburn finished in the top ten and has taken top points in the ARR Scottish Championship.

Rally - Drookit day oot

Jock Armstrong won the National B, RSAC Scottish Rally, but he may not have taken top ARR Craib Scottish Championship points because Euan Thorburn’s times will have to be taken into account. Euan was contesting the full international 10 stages so only his SS3 to SS8 times will count. Not ideal but as a means of encouraging folk to have a crack at the BRC competitors the idea has its merits.

Shaun Sinclair got second overall ahead of Mike Faulkner unable to make up the 30 second deficit he incurred on the first stage: “I opted for hard tyres on the first one,” said Mike, “wrong choice. The first bend on the first stage was wet and the cold tyres just locked up, no grip and we were off.”

Rory Young grabbed fourth when Mark McCulloch had his second puncture of the day on the second run through Twiglees and Freddie Mine rounded off the top six delighted with his stages times taking time out of some of the BRC front runners.

Michael Binnie scored the best result of his career so far in 7th ahead of Scott McCombie who got 8th when Iain Wilson parked up mid stage 7. Simon Hay and Dougal Brown rounded off the top ten with Dougal taking top 2WD finish, but it was close: “The car wouldn’t start at the last stage,” said Dougal, “and we took all the plugs out and cleaned them, then noticed it was losing water too. So we topped it up and went for it - and then had to top it up again on the road section into the finish!”

Angus Lawrie was lucky to take the 1600 class win and even luckier to finish when he lost a rear wheel on the final stage. Scott MacBeth lost out when his Citroen struck a rock, bent the bottom arm and the steering.

Perhaps veteran Sandy Milne summed it up best when he crossed the finish line: "What happened to the Scottish? In my day it was dust. It was more like the Safari Rally out there today!"

Rally - Order restored

Kindly disregard the running order as reported in the previous post regarding the Nat B competitors. It would appear that the Marshals were overwhelmed by a queue of cars at the end of SS2, not helped by the fact that it was raining. How hard was it raining? A bearded old chap appeared out of the woods wearing robes and carrying a staff. No, it wasn’t Jeremy Corbyn, he was looking for two red deer to go along with the two of everything else he was collecting for his boat parked in the Firth.

Anyway, the true running order after 4 of the day’s 6 stages shows Jock Armstrong leading by 30 seconds from Shaun Sinclair. Almost a minute behind in third place is Mike Faulkner but Rory Young is 3 tenths of a second behind Mike. Game on as they say.

Mark McCulloch is fifth, despite a puncture, with Freddie Milne rounding off the top six, but Michael Binnie is going well again just outside the top six and ahead of Iain Wilson - and there’s less than 10 seconds between them.

Sadly, Greg McKnight is not amongst them. The Lancer punctured a tyre, the flailing rubber took the inner wing off and then destroyed the wiring loom. What a bluidy shame. The boy was ‘done’ good as footballers would say. Ian Forgan won’t be finishing either, the Subaru parked up amongst the greenery in  Ae forest.

Rally - RSAC Scottish

At least it will keep the midgies indoors. After a dry-ish start to the RSAC Scottish Rally this morning the heavens opened and solid waatter fell from the sky. Last night’s rain also ensured that there was no such thing as dust this morning either, so the Marshals who are out there braving the elements might just be thankful that they are sodden and wet rather than midge fodder and dust-choked. What a choice, Scottish rallying at its best, eh?

And it is, David Bogie got off to a flying start this morning faster over the first two stages than rally leader Fredik Ahlin, but tyre choice as ever is critical. David’s Skoda arrived at the first service with the DMACKS a wee bit tattered at the edges. “Just shows they’re working fine,” said David, “it was the right choice for those two but they won’t go any farther.” Sadly, Euan Thorburn won’t be troubling the top two after a puncture this morning: “I was told don’t cut,” said Euan, “but I did.” John Morrison was none too chuffed either: “I stopped to change a rear puncture then the front on the same side went down,” said John, and as I got to the finish of the stage the other front went down, the wheel studs sheared and the wheel broke!” Happy days, eh?

Over in the Nat B rally, Shaun Sinclair has a half second lead over Greg McKnight after the day’s opening two tests with Mark McCulloch 7 seconds behind but ahead of Rory Young and Jock Armstrong: “I was expecting the ‘big’ cars to have pulled out more rocks than they did,” said Jock, “I was just too cautious.” Rounding off the top half dozen is Freddie Milne ahead of Mike Faulkner after a too-cautious start.

Greg was looking quite at ease, but Shaun reckons there’s more to come: “I was lifting too often,”  said Shaun, “there’s a fine line between driving  and crashing, I haven’t quite found it yet!”