Euan Thorburn's plan to win his second Colin Mcrae Forest Stages Rally has gone up in smoke, literally.
Mike Faulkner could explain why: "I was a mile from the end of the first stage and I felt the car a bit loose at the rear end, and thought puncture," said Mike, "then I smelled burning rubber so was convinced it was a puncture. But it wasn't, it was Euan's tyres I was smelling, mine were fine."
As things turned out, it was just the loose slippery conditions that Mike was experiencing with his Lancer.
As for Thorburn in the Focus: "It was my own fault. Three corners in there was a long right hander, and I was well in (Co-driver Paul Beaton rolled his eyes at this point when Euan was telling me!), then half way round the low sun just caught my eyes. I didn't even see the rock. We hit it, and bent the front tie-rod and steering arm and the wheel hit back into the wheel arch and punctured. We tried to fix it at the stage finish, but simply ran out of time. Imagine that, I didn't even get 3 corners in to the first stage."
As for Faulkner, he was just "steady away" and currently lies in second place after two stages to Quintin Milne in the Lancer.
Quintin has had his troubles though: "We cracked a brake disc on the first stage and then it shattered on the second, but the vibrations shook the wheel nut gun loose in the boot and it came loose and whacked the diff pump, and broke it." Fortunately, Wayne Sisson had a spare and the boys are just hoping there's enough time to fit it - he's only 2 seconds in front of Mike.
Chris Collie is going well in third place and staying out of trouble with young Dave Weston holding fourth place and settling in well to the Subaru.
Donnie MacDonald screwed his hopes of a good finish today: "I overshot a junction in Stage 1, and then it stalled on me. Then I hit a stone and bent a front arm so that put me right off the pace in SS2, but I'm still going."
Top 2WD car is Keith Robathan's MkII in 7th place with Graeme Schoneville in the Honda 9th and John Boyd in the Fiesta 10th. David Bogie is 12th in the Escort: "I had a rear puncture in SS1," said David, "I'm still trying to find the grip levels, but 'm enjoying myself."
Top Ten after 2 (of 6) stages:
1 Milne, 8m 17.6s
2 Faulkner, 8m 19.8s
3, Collie, 8m 21.7s
4, Weston, 8m 26.0s
5, Groundwater, 8m 35.4s
6, McClory, 8m 37.9s
7, Robathan, 8m 45.8s
8, MacDonald, 8m 46.6s
9, Schoneville, 8m 49.0s
10, Boyd, 8m 49.1s