Rally HQ was busy tonight ahead of tomorrow's opening round of the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship in Inverness, the Arnold Clark /Thistle Hotel Snowman Rally, as crews gathered to sign on.
Although not seen, reports are in that Euan Thorburn is in town. He was spotted checking in to his hotel, but all is not good news. The Focus WRC is still not ready for battle tomorrow. The engine management system has failed and he's waiting for a new ECU to be delivered ahead of tomorrow's start.
Donnie MacDonald has a new engine in his EVO9 and a new engine management system but hasn't driven the car in anger yet: "It feels different, it feels better," said Donnie, "and the aim this year is to finisher than fourth which I did a few times last year."
Mike Faulkner is here with his new car, but has only had one short run out in t: "It should have been longer, but the front diff failed," said Mike, who is nevertheless pleased with his EVO9, "it's not as nimble as the EVO6, but it handles well and feels more stable."
Dale Robertson said: "It's two and half years since I was last in the woods, on the Scottish Rally." Last time out was the Jim Clark last year in his EVO9: "The car has has been converted from tarmac to forest spec and has a new rear diff, but we'll see how we go tomorrow before we think about doing the full championship."
Subaru WRC driver and past Snowman Rally winner, Reay MacKay completed 12 miles of testing yesterday: "Given the problems we had last year that is a result!"
And finally for tonight, Jock Armstrong is here with the Subaru, looking almost pristine, the car that is, not Jock. He bumped it two weeks ago testing in Ayrshire. "A tyre rolled off the rim on a square right and we just sort of toppled on to the side in a ditch," said Jock, who was giving a lady guest a run out in the car. Apparently she was quite nonplussed by the incident, telling Jock: "This is the second time I've benn in a rally car - and the second time I have been in a crash." In other words, it wasn't Jock's fault, the lady must be a jinx!