Duns co-driver Claire Mole is out for a hurl this weekend with Neil Simpson in a Skoda Fabia S2000 car. It’s 14 years since Simpson contested this event and he’s using it as practice for the Ypres Rally in Belgium next month, the next round of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Neil has contested the Jim Clark Rally twice before, winning his class both times. In 1999 he finished a giant-killing 9th overall in a Volkswagen Golf TDi. This was the car in which he also finished a superb 2nd overall on the Manx International that year behind Martin Rowe in the Renault Megane Maxi and ahead of Raimund Baumschlager in the Volkswagen Golf Kit Car. No’ bad, eh.
In 2000 he finished 5th overall on the Jim Clark in a GrpN winning Mitsubishi Evo-6. More recently, he and Claire finished 1st in class and 2nd overall on February’s North West Stages, 1st in class and 7th overall on Rallye Le Touquet in France in March, and were 5th overall on the Circuit of Ireland Rally last month.
Neil said: “For us, the Jim Clark Rally is very much a test for the forthcoming Ypres Rally. We haven’t driven the Fabia S2000 in the wet, so we’re hoping it’s going to be raining in the Scottish borders. It’s unusual for a driver to say that before a Tarmac rally, but it very often rains during the Ypres Rally, and when it does conditions out there are extremely difficult. Wet roads on the Jim Clark Rally it will allow us to find a good wet-weather set-up for the car, which we can then take to Belgium and use if needed.”
It’s obviously a while since Neil has been here as it doesn’t rain in Scotland any more, although sometimes the fresh air gets a bit wet.