Young Mark McCulloch and Craig Wallace scored their first ever outright rally victory on today's Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally, and it was only their fourth run out in their Subaru Impreza after a season with a Fiesta ST.
"We got a puncture in Dalbeattie and thought that was it," said Mark, "then we saw Steve's (Petch) car off the road. He only lost about the same amount of time as us, so it was flat out for both of us over the final two stages."
"We spun on that last one, so that probably cost us the rally," said Steve,"the car was fine, the rally was brilliant, it was just down to me."
As for mid point rally leader, Jock Armstrong, he was sidelined on the road section to the fourth stage when the Lancer's boost disappeared and the engine stopped dead. And Pat O'Connell was going well till the Lancer clipped a bridge parapet and deranged a rear corner.
McCulloch therefore won by 31 seconds (46m 06s) from Petch (46m 37s) with Craig McMiken well pleased in third place (47m 25s) but there was a fierce old fight for third as Chris Collie just lost out by 2 seconds (47m 27s).
Adding a bit more needle to this match was the fact that Susan Shanks was co-driving for Craig while husband Neil was with Chris, so that's going to give her bragging and nagging rights for months! In her ten years of rallying she's never finished on the podium for a forest event (apparently tarmac events don't count!) so she was delighted.
Liam Regan finished fifth (47m 55s) from Richard Dickson (48m 28s) and lucky to do so after a two wheeling moment in a ditch on the final stage.
Shane McGirr scored an excellent 7th in the 2 litre Starlet (48m 38s) from Andrew Gallacher (48m 39s) who was losing time over the final two stages with a gearbox problem. It seems the selectors are sticking in the Impreza 'box.
Allan McDowall was ninth in the Kadett (48m 51s) the English Rally Champion having a frustrating day (by his standards) with two offs. Rounding off the top ten was Ian Paterson (49m 27s) who had a better afternoon after solving his Impreza's lack of earlier boost problems.