At the Drivers’ Briefing last night ahead of today’s Coltel Granite City Rally, Bill Sturrock told competitors that the five forest stages were in good condition, but very slippery in places. Although there was no snow in the forests, there were some scattered hail and sleet showers yesterday, making some parts of the route even slippier.
Saturday has dawned dry and bright (but cold) in the north east, but the weather forecast is for more wintry during the course of today.
Whilst waiting for the cars to arrive at Stracathro Service Area, John MacCrone pulled up alongside with Alec Brown. Apparently they took the decision late last night to come over from Mull to spectate, so jumped on the last ferry and headed for Aberdeen. Alec intends to have the Citroen out at Ingliston next month, but spectators could be in for another wee surprise as John reckons he might just bring the Fiesta up to Ingliston for a shakedown ahead of his first visit to Greece. He knows there’s no comparison but it’s just a run-out for the car to make sure all the oily bits are n perfect working order.
Anyway, times are in from the first stage for the front wheel drive cars which are running ahead of the main field, and in the lead at this very early stage are:
1 John Boyd (Fiesta) 9m 43s
2 Graeme Schoneville (Honda) 9m 47s
3 Craig Rutherford (Honda) 9m 48s
4 Greig McKnight (Nova) 10m 00s
5 Colin Smith (Honda) 10m 03s
6 Iain Haining (Nova) 10m 12s
7 Blair McCulloch (Nova) 10m 15s
8 Malcolm Robertson (Sunbeam) 10m 17s
9 Tom Hynd (Peugeot 205) 10m 17s
10 Alex Pirie (Corsa) 10m 23s
But isn’t that a sign of the times, only one of the top ten so far is rear wheel drive!
Carl Tuer didn’t start this morning, the MG developed a fault yesterday, Willie Stuart’s service crew has just left the service area - with the trailer! And Graeme Smith in the Honda is 7 mins down on the leaders after clouting a rock and damaging the front suspension on the day’s opener.