Unable to post anything from Otterburn today because as far as phone signals go this is a dead zone. However, I was going to put something up when I got to the finish hotel, but then the excrement hit the whirling blades of fate and events took their own interminable turn.
Damian Cole was hit with a 2 minute penalty for failing to stop when required to do so by an official Scrutineer who was conducting a turbo check. Cole said the official merely pointed ,but didn’t flag him down, although everyone else stopped. The Scroots hotfooted it round to his Eeziup to check and found everything to be hunky dory. But that wasn’t enough for some, they wanted him excluded. However as things stand he's the rally winner and the British Asphalt Champion - for the fourth time.
Naturally the rumour mill generated its own momentum with all sorts of claim and counter claim, accusations of favouritism and the flutter of pound notes. The Stewards upheld the CofC’s decision (G5.3) and results were declared final, but that might not be the end of the matter. Some see it as payback for earlier troubles in the year, remember the furore over mud flap sizes and Noise Checks?
The affair clouded an otherwise excellent rally with torrential rain showers soaking the range roads and then almost drying when the sun came out intermittently throughout the day. Steve Simpson retired with a cracked gearbox casing, Peter Taylor sailed off into the boondocks with no damage but stuck, and John Indri was forced to retired when a cam sensor came off. He struggled mightily to get it fixed but ran out of time. At one point he looked like a vet with his arm up the back end of a coo as he removed the seats and tried to fix the thing shoving his arm through a hole in the bulkhead!
But the hero of the day was Simon Mauger who finished the rally with no alternator, no wipers and no clutch and a borrowed battery. That man doesn’t know the meaning of giving up.
1, Damian Cole/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Focus WRC05) 1:22:53
2, John Stone/Carl Williamson (Skoda Fabia WRC) +0:00:20
3, Simon Mauger/Brian Cammack (Ford Escort MkII) +0:00:20
4, Michael Glendinning/Fiona Douglas (Subaru Impreza) +0:01:05
5, Darren Doherty/Stewart Merry (Subaru Impreza) +0:03:11
6, Alex Laffey/Jack Morton (Ford Fiesta S2000) +0:04:41
7, Alan Oldfield/Ken Bills (Darrian T90 GTR) +0:05:32
8, Barry Lindsay/Michael Lindsay (Peugeot 106 GTi) +0:05:39
9, Paul Bird/Aled Davies (Ford Focus 07 WRC) +0:06:06
10, John Paterson/Richard Wardle (Ford Escort MkII) +0:06:57