Paul MacKinnon and Ewan MacGillivray continue to lead the Tunnock’s Mull Rally and even though he’s making it look easy, he’s not without his problems. “I stalled it again at the start of Bunessan,” said Paul, “it’s OK when I’m going, it’s just getting it cleanly off the line that’s the problem.” There were no problems in the Gribun test, he cleaned it by 6 seconds – is that the first time that Gribun has been cleaned? We think so.
“I’ve got a bit of a cushion now,” said Paul, “so I’m in cruise mode, and switched the anti-lag off on that final stage just to make it a bit easier on the car.”
John Cope is happy enough with second place: “I’m just a boring old shit,” he said, “gently over the first two stages and steady over that lot.”
James MacGillivray is happier with his pace after a slow start and has moved up to third and has designs on Cope’s second place. On the move after his earlier problems is Daniel Harper in the MINI, now up to fifth behind Tristan Pye in the Subaru. In the other MiniSport MINI is John Cressey: “I nearly binned it just outside Dervaig,” he chuckled, “but the sequential gearbox is playing up.” He’s lying in a provisional twentieth place at present.
Alan Gardiner has dropped off the pace a wee bit: “I had a front puncture in Ardtun, I nearly hit the back of Eddie O’Donnell’s car in Bunessan when he went off and now my steering wheel is loose!” Top local seed Eddie O’Donnell slid off the road in Bunessan but got back out again with the help of spectators and it looks as though John Rintoul is out, parked up at the side of the road. Ian Chadwick limped out of the last stage with a broken throttle cable and co-driver Johnnie Bould lacerated his fingers pulling the frayed bit by hand to get out of the stage.
Interim Leaderboard after 9 of 19 stages:
1 Paul MacKinnon, 55m 57s
2 John Cope, 59m 12s
3 James MacGillivray, 1h 00m 13s
4 Tristan Pye, 1h 00m 58s
5 Daniel Harper, 1h 01m21s
6 Alan Gardiner. 1h 01m 36s
7 Billy Bird, 1h 01m 56s
8 Iain Ogg MacKenzie, 1h 02m 07s
9 Curly Haigh, 1h 02m 14s
10 Tim Stell, 1h 02m 17s