|Blue skies over Kelso|
Jukka Korhonen took a big step towards his first British Rally Championship title today when he won the Jim Clark Rally by just about the closest of finishes. At the finish Tom Cave was only 2 seconds behind him!
Winner of the first round at Carlisle a month ago, the Finn led from the front and even a spin this morning in damp, slippery conditions didn’t faze him. Osian Pryce completed the podium line-up with pre-event favourite, Alastair Fisher finishing fourth, all in Citroen DS3s.
Our own John MacCrone failed to finish. After the first stage this morning he left service for the next stage, but on the way there, a track control arm pulled out of its socket and he was stuck on a road section with no chance of help. Garry Pearson was in the top ten but a tree violently arrested his Fiesta’s progress this morning and it’ll need more than tank tape and tie-wraps to put it together again.
Euan Thorburn (Ford Focus WRC) took the National event win, but he was lucky. His throttle control sensor failed this afternoon and he had to rig up an ‘old fashioned’ throttle cable to reach service. Steve Simpson (Impreza WRC) was happy enough with second place while Simon Mauger finished third in his Escort MkII behind the two World Cars.
Damian Cole was lying second, but clutch failure put him out and David Hardie lost out on a top finish when his Subaru started overheating following a bit of an ‘agricultural outing’ early this morning on the Swinton test. Barry Groundwater was in with a shout of a good result too but the Lancer expired in Langton.
The Scots had a good showing in the BRC Challenge event where Ross Hunter took a very mature win in his unsophisticated Peugeot 205 by 40 seconds from the Renault Clio of Russ Thompson. Steven Smith got third in his Peugeot 206 but only after stage times were corrected relegating Gareth White to fourth in his Citroen C2 R2. Des Campbell was delighted with fifth in his Peugeot 206 ahead of 18 year old Aaron McClure on his first Jim Clark Rally in his Fiesta.
Sadly the organisers lost three stages today, two because of “reasons of safety” and another this afternoon because the rally was running out of Road Closure time. This was down to the combination of two separate incidents on two different stages which had a knock-on effect on a third. In both cases the two rally crews escaped injury although one car was burnt out in a fire and the fire services had to be called while the other resulted from a car striking two trees.
On a more positive note, both cases amply demonstrated just how safe the sport is.
And now to tomorrow, the really serious stuff, the Jim Clark Reivers Rally, which counts towards both the main ARR Craib and Blue national Scottish Rally Championships.