For the second year running there was a big shock for the Scrutineers when Eddie O'Donnell turned up at 10.00 am with a car which was ready to run, and not full of bits which needed tightened, replaced or quietened down. And nor was there any members of the Clan O'Donnell following it with toolboxes and spares. Hopefully, he's sorted out the 'braking issues' which he had at the recent shakedown at the Cheviot Stages. "We've straightened out a few Otterburn scars," said Eddie, "but we'll find out at Dervaig tonight if the brakes work."
Doug Weir drove the Escort for the first time since last October when he took it for an MOT two weeks ago. "It was a George Gauld MOT, so we got through OK", said Doug, referring to the former Scottish Rally Championship driver who runs an MOT station in Aberdeen.
Iain 'Ogg' MacKenzie should go well tonight. He's hired Brian Watson's Evo9, so this will be his first real taste of 4WD after his Fiesta exploits. This was the car that Brian used on last weekend's Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally, but obviously it's had the rear suspension arm replaced - which Brian broke.
Speaking of Brian, he's on Course-Car duty this weekend and he's wheeled out his Audi Quattro Sport S1. How far he'll get tonight we don't know. He's suffering from a tea cake hangover after taking part in last night's competition! A few bumps and jumps tonight will sort the old tummy out, or he'll be caking the driver's the side of the car with multi-coloured underseal.
Bad news for James MacGillivray though. Last year he got 100 yards into the first stage and it broke down, this year it didn't even get that far. Last night the cam pulley came off the MkII's engine. The engine is not very well. He's retired but he's given his fuel allocation to Stewart Morrison who was having trouble getting the right fuel.
Ian Chadwick finished 12th o/a on the Cork International last weekend. "It was seriously slippy over there," said Ian, "we treated that as a bit of a warm-up for the BIG event this weekend." The Skoda has more torque than the Honda he used last year: "It's only got about 160 bhp," he said, "but the torque is much better, pulling all the way from 2500 to 7000 rpm."
SPECIAL NOTE - Make a date with BBC Landward at the end of this month. The TV crew are here filming a piece on the rally for their countryside programme in between the coos and sheeps. They don't have a transmission date as yet, but it could be the 29th, so watch out for it.