Monday 30 June 2014

Rally - Point of Order

Just so you know, when I publish a 'Leaderboard' on these pages whilst attending Scottish rallies, the 'results' are as accurate as they are presented at the time. For instance, on last weekend's event, the Leaderboard I published immediately after the rally differed from the Final Results when they were published later that evening. The Final Results showed that Jock had been promoted to third and Andy demoted to fourth. Apparently there were some issues with clocks and dust on the day!

In fact, that's why I use the term 'Leaderboard' as opposed to 'Results' when posting information live from events. So, apologies to Jock and commiserations to Andy.

Anyway, that's my excuse and by way of appeasement, the final top 15 are shown below. In the meantime, the full report of last weekend's stoorfest in the south west has now been sent to 'Motorsport News' for Wednesday's publication. It makes scintillating, pulsating, compulsive reading - or I might just be a bit biased.

A fuller report on the ARR Craib counter will be published in 'JaggyBunnet' (Scotland's top rally mag!) later in the week.
RSAC Scottish Rally - Results:

1, David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Ford Fiesta R5+ ) 0:41m 33.8s
2, Euan Thorburn/Paul Beaton (Ford Focus WRC 01) 0:00:03.5
3, Jock Armstrong/Paula Swinscoe (Subaru Impreza) 0:02:12.6
4, Andy Horne/Jim Howie (Ford Focus WRC) 0:02:29.9
5, Mike Faulkner/Peter Foy (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) 0:02:34.4
6, Barry Groundwater/Neil Shanks (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) 0:02:53.7
7, Steven Clark/Phil Sandham (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 5) 0:03:14.3
8, Dougal Brown/Lewis Rochford (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) 0:03:33.1
9, Chris Collie/Mark Fisher (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 6) 0:04:41.2
10, Matthew Robinson/Sam Collis (Ford Escort MkII) 0:04:45.2
11, Craig McMiken/Craig Wallace (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) 0:05:03.0
12. Steve Bannister/Louise Rae (Ford Escort MkII) 0:05:28.8
13, Brian Watson/Sean Donnelly (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) 0:06:22.1
14, Greg McKnight/Chris McKnight (Ford Escort MkII) 0:07:21.3
15, Andy Kelly/Roger Herron (Ford Escort RS 2000) 0:07:33.6 

Pic shows: Demonstration of the most effective method of internal stoor cleansing! No actual adults were harmed in the making of this educational and intructional image!

Rally - Polo in Poland


The Volkswagen Polo WRC team were in command again in Poland at the weekend with three cars in the top five places. Ogier won by over a minute from team mate Mikkelsen. Best news was that Hyundai got on the podium with Thierry Neuville’s third place finish ahead of M-Sports’ Mikko Hirvonen and the Polo of Jari-Matti Latvala.

Kris Meeke finished seventh whereas team mate Mads Ostberg didn’t finish at all. Mads rolled his Citroen when the car hit a rock. He was third at the time but was not allowed to re-start because the roll cage had been damaged in the impact.

After running as high as third at the start of rally, Kris lost almost three minutes when he picked up a puncture on SS14. Relegated to eleventh position, he began a long fightback.

Ninth at the start of the final day, the DS3 WRC driver got the better of Henning Solberg on SS21 before moving ahead of Hayden Paddon on SS23. He finished seventh overall, scoring six World Championship points.

Afterwards Kris said: “It was an interesting rally in terms of experience. We were among the frontrunners. Unfortunately, the stages in Lithuania didn’t work out very well for us and we then had a puncture on the long stage. Climbing back up from eleventh to finish seventh isn’t a bad result, but it could have been much better. I’m nonetheless pleased to have gained in confidence and gathered a lot of data to help us prepare well for the next round in Finland.”

Finishing second in the Junior WRC were Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble in their Citroen: “We made a cautious start to the rally. We really had to avoid making any mistakes after our retirement in Portugal. I upped my pace on Saturday. And although we picked up a puncture, we were able to stay among the frontrunners. Second place is a good result. We needed to build our confidence back up before heading to Finland. I should be able to use my experience at the next round.”

It wasn’t such a good event for the M-Sport squad either. Mikko Hirvonen just missed out on a podium finish and Elfyn Evans finished in a very disappointed 35th place: "I think it's fair to say that it was a difficult start for us. We were able to build the pace as the weekend went on, but it took me a little longer than I would have liked to adapt. Once we started to get used to the speed, I think the times were quite promising,” said Elfyn, “Just as we were getting to the point where we felt comfortable to up our game and push a bit more, we hit the rock which caught out so many crews on SS14. It was a shame for sure, but that's just the way it is sometimes and you have to put it down to experience.”

"It was good to get back out today – to get some more mileage and perfect the notes for the future. It wasn't a fantastic run being first on the road, but on the whole it has been a very productive weekend. It's all good practice ahead of Rally Finland. We've got a bit of a break now but with a good test before the rally I'm sure we'll be looking for a strong result."

Final Leaderboard:
1. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 2:08:47.3
2. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ola Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +1:07.7
3. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:13.5
4. Mikko Hirvonen / Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +2:32.4
5. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +2:33.1
6. Juho Hänninen / Tomi Tuominen (Hyundai i20 WRC) +2:49.9
7. Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +4:27.9
8. Hayden Paddon / John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:32.1
9. Henning Solberg / Ilka Minor (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +4:59.0
10. Martin Prokop / Jan Tomanek (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +6:11.3

Saturday 28 June 2014

Rally - Bogie wins

Just 3.5 seconds decided the winners of this year's RSAC Scottish Rally. David Bogie and Kevin Rae just managed to sneak the victory in their Ford Fiesta R5 from the Ford Focus WRC of Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton.

Thorburn got of to a bad start this morning with a fluffed stage start on the opening test of the day then a puncture, but he was quicker than his rival over the final two stages of the day and left to rue what might have been.

"I'm really pleased with that," said David, "I'm still learning and there's more to come. Keeping tyres on the car is difficult but that's down to the traction and excellent braking so I need to be careful of that. I didn't really know what to expect this morning and a podium was to be hoped for, but this, I didn't expect. "

"I lost it this morning," said a smiling Euan, "I'm pleased with my pace though, and I know I can fight. Those two last stages were 'drivers' stages' so it's good to know I can be competitive against the Fiesta."

In third place was a relieved Andy Horne in the Focus: "I had a good morning apart from two overshoots, but it was excellent this afternoon. I was told to be more aggressive with the car, so I drove it like my Metro - and it worked!"

In fourth place was Jock Armstrong who appeared at the finish with the rear offside wheel on the Subaru at a funny angle: "I just ran wide on a corner and rumbled over some rocks," said Jock, "they were big rocks!"
Mike Faulkner lost out on third when he encountered Milne regaining the road after changing a wheel: "I just came over a crest to find spectators pushing him out, and then had to follow him. I had to stop about 10 times just to let the dust clear to see where I was going."

Quintin Milne punctured a tyre and lost nearly 8 minutes in Twiglees then stopped at the pub on the way out of the stage. That was him finished for the day, not wanting to risk any further damage to the new Focus. Donnie MacDonald was another non-finisher in the Lancer when the car lost drive in the third stage and Andrew Gallacher ditched his Lancer.

Leaderboard after 7 (of 7) stages:
1, David Bogie, 41m 33.8s
2, Euan Thorburn, 41m 37.3s
3, Andy Horne, 43m 26.8s
4, Jock Armstrong, 43m 46.4s
5, Mike Faulkner, 44m 08.2s
6, Barry Groundwater, 44m 29.0s
7, Steven Clark, 44m 48.1s
8, Dougal Brown, 45m 06.9s
9, Chris Collie, 46m 15.0s
10, Matthew Robinson, 46m 19.0s
11, Craig McMiken, 46m 38.1s
12, Steve Bannister, 47m 02.6s

Rally - Bogie leads

David Bogie leads the RSAC Scottish Rally after 4 stages with an 11 second lead over Euan Thorburn.

"I'm committed, but still making mistakes," said David, "this car requires a completely different driving style, but I'm pleased with how quickly I'm getting to grips with it. It's on the rev limiter all the time!"

Thorburn is nearly a minute clear of third placed Quintin Milne: "I fluffed the start on the first stage," said Euan, "then got a rear opuncture with a mile and half to go in the second but that only cost me a couple of seconds to David. And Stage 3, I just didn't get into it all. That was my fault."

Milne is pleased with third given the level of opposition on this Scottish Championship counter: "I stalled it a couple of times on the first two stages," said Quintin, "but Stage 3 was better although the dash display disappeared and I had no speed, revs or gear display!"

Mike Faulkner is fourth in the Lancer from Jock Armstrong but the Subaru has an electrical fault and it keeps cutting out. Barry Groundwater rounds off the top six in his Lancer.

Steven Clark had been third after two stages but  a broken driveshaft has dropped him back and Mark McCulloch has cowped the Subaru.

But the big problem today is stoor, and just like a famous lager, Scottish stoor reaches the more intimate parts that English dust doesn't reach. It's not a shower the crews will need tonight, it's a pressure washer.

Leaderboard after 4 (of 7) stages:
1, David Bogie, 26m 07.1s
2, Euan Thorburn, 26m 18.1s
3, Quintin Milne, 27m 16.9s
4, Mike Faulkner, 27m 34.1s
5, Jock Armstrong, 27m 42.7s
6, Barry Groundwater, 27m 58.0s
7, Rory Young, 28m 05.5s
8, Steven Clark, 28m 08.5s
9, Dougal Brown, 28m 21.8s
10, Bruce McCombie, 28m 43.0s

Rally - Poland WRC

There's quite a sair fecht going on out there on Rally Poland at the moment with the difference between the two leaders never more than 3 seconds.

Two of Friday’s special stages had to be cancelled in Lithuania due to large potholes and tyre tracks, and also for safety reasons due to the huge numbers of spectators in places.

Sébastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC commented: “Obviously, I’m more than happy with today’s outcome. Julien and I are in the lead – albeit only just, with our teammates Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene right behind us. It’s a shame for the fans that the afternoon stages had to be cancelled, but the organisers made the right decision. The track conditions were very bad – there were deep furrows in the tracks and they were crumbling. Already this morning, there were some sections that were barely passable because they were wet from the night and the morning mist. You can see on the photos that a tractor would probably have been more use than a rally car.”

Overall Classification after Day Two:
1, S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 47:22.4
2, A. Mikkelsen / O. Floene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +0.9
3, M. Østberg / J. Andersson (Citroën DS3 WRC) +19.5
4, J.M Latvala / M. Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +32.0
5, K. Meeke / P. Nagle (Citroën DS3 WRC) +40.0
6, J. Hänninen / T. Tuominen (Hyundai i20 WRC)  +46.8
7, M. Hirvonen / J. Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:06.8
8, R. Kubica / M. Szczepaniak (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:16.1
9, E. Evans / D. Barritt (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +1:21.4
10, T. Neuville / N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC) +1:22.8

Friday 27 June 2014

Rally - Bogie Fiesta

David Bogie was one of the last to appear at Scrutineering, thinking he'd just sneak in without making a fuss. No chance.

Prior to last weekend's DMACK Stages he had done 30 miles at Sweet Lamb with the Fiesta before he went to Kielder. No times were taken last weekend as David was treating this as a shakedown for this weekend's Scottish and he had to miss SS2, so he didn't hand in any Time Cards at the rally finish.

"We lost the brakes at the end of SS1," said David, "and missed SS2 to see what was up. It would appear it was an overheating problem, the air can't get into the rear brakes at all. It was a hot day in Kielder and I was hard on the brakes a few times, but we should be OK tomorrow. There's enough of a road run between the stages for them to cool down."

"It's completely different to anything I've driven before," he said, "it's not as quick as the Focus, it's 1.6 compared to 2 litre, but it handles better, especially under braking." When asked about power, he said: "The Fiesta has power all the way through the rev band, but I miss the punch out of corners with the Focus!"

"I'm very pleased with it," he added, "I wanted to do Wales Rally GB, and that's the main aim this year. If I can do all the rounds of the Scottish Championship then I will, but I want to do a couple of other WRC events. We'll see."

Rally - Focus on Milne

Caught up with Quintin Milne after his Focus winning debut on last weekend's DMACK Carlisle Stages. The car now resplendent in its Rig Deluge colours. In fact, the Rig Deluge boys were so delighted with the way he adjusted so quickly to the new car, they offered more support. When asked what it would take, Quintin said: "I'll have to be very careful with the car. An engine rebuilt for the Lancer is about 8 times less than a Ford engine rebuild and while I can cope with Lancer prices, this will be very different." To which they replied, don't you worry about a thing, we'll pay for the next 4 rallies. According to Quintin that will be worth about 2 seconds a mile tomorrow.

However I do think he'll be sensible, although in his case, 'sensible' is a relative term, but the car should suit his driving style.

As for last weekend, according to Q: "It was mega. I had only had 4 runs round Paul Benn's field the day before the rally and then went out on the stages. This is the first LHD rally car I've ever had. I once had a shot in one and was in the ditches everywhere, but it's so easy to drive. It gets you out of trouble if you just trust it."

Even more impressive said Q: "WWhen you look around the parts of the car some of them ares stamped 'McRae' and some are stamped 'Sainz'. Basically this is a 2001 car with 2002 suspension and steering column and the rest 2003."

So who are Rig Deluge? They put out fires on oil rigs. Serious stuff, eh?

Rally - On the mend

Ivor Clark told me this morning that he got a phone call late last night. It was from Keith McCleary in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary who informed him that he was being transferred to Dumfries General tomorrow. It will still be a few weeks before he's allowed out, but he's on the mend, and that's the main thing. Get better soon Keith, from all of us.

Rally - Less power

Further to an earlier report which claimed that Jim McRae's Vauxhall Firenza had more than 400bhp I am delighted to confirm that it has no more than 300bhp. I got this from James himself as he pushed the Firenza into Scrutineering at the Dumfries Ice Bowl this afternoon. But he did confirm that the final drive ratio has been changed to make it more tractable and allow him to use the torque more. So it must be true, he said so himself. Dead gallus though, pushing one-handed, the other in his pocket!

Rally - Plane crazy

We all had to duck in Greskine this morning when a big black Hercules aircraft swept up the Little Clyde valley, barely above the electricity transmission lines and well below the level of the tree clad hills. It was so bluidy quiet, it was casting a big black shadow over us long before we heard it - at least, that's my excuse for the bad photo. It was snatched in a hurry!  According to one of the blokes with us, whose brother is an air traffic controller, it was an SAS aeroplane on a training flight. Tell you what the pilot could have been a rally driver the tight turns he was pulling through the glen. Magnificent.

Rally - More testing

Scott Peacock left early after an oil leak got worse on the Peugeot. Turns out the sump was cracked. "I had leak earlier in the week and thought I'd fixed it," said Scott, "I took all the bolts out of the sump and it didn't fall off, so I had to get a big screwdriver and lever it off. There was no gasket, just silicone all the way round!" So he fitted a new gasket and re-bolted it only to find this morning that it was the sump which had a wee crack just at a corner.

After his Plains Rally non-finish, when a shock absorber broke on the penultimate stage, Keith Riddick has the MG back in one piece for tomorrow. He wasn't there this morning but Scott said that the MG had tarmac springs and forest shockers, o no wonder it broke, and the otjer side was leaking. Needless to say young Keith was pretty dischuffed as he wasn't aware what was actually fitted to the car when he got it.
Of more importance to both youngsters is the fact that Scott's Dad, Donald, is out in his Peugeot, and neither of them want to get duffed up by the ol'man. This is more than just competition and rivalry, this is much more serious!

Speaking of youngsters, Blair Brown was at the test this morning with his 205. A week ago he visited the Higgins' Rally School and had a session with David. First thing he was told was that he was too sideways, so David tidied him up. He also told him to be smoother on the brakes and to be off both brakes and throttle whenhe turned into an apex. By the end of the day he was quicker than the start. Job done. All he has to do now is to put theory into practice tomorrow.

Apparently Jim McRae was here yesterday with the V8 Firenza now that it has a 3.7 diff in place of the previous 4.1. This was done in a bid tor reduce wheelspin - in top gear! Rumour has it that the beast (the car, not Jim) has over 400 bhp.

Rally - Testing tales

Standing in Greskine Forest this morning with plumes of stoor rising above the treeline was reminiscent of Scottish Rallies of old - sunshine, stoor, stones, midges, clegs - and rally cars.

Graeme Schoneville was 'testing' a new piece of kit on the Honda. A roof scoop. Now don't laugh, this is serious. On the recent Jim Clark Rally, him and Michael were liked baked potatoes at the end of some of the stages, and even the service crew poking their heads in the door were amazed at the heat being generated inside the car. Hence the roof scoop. We'll see if it works this weekend.

The Japanese visitors had a rather abrupt introduction to Scotland. Testing their Honda Civic yesterday they ran out of road and encountered one of the more substantial pieces of Scottish terrain and broke a hub. That meant an overnight job for the EuroRallye boys.

Derek Connell broke a driveshaft in the Suzuki engined Corsa this morning and had to fix, but better here than on the first stage tomorrow!

Neil Matthews in his 1600 Nova was at the test session this morning: "I'm glad we came, I've got no grip at the rear." When the crew took the rear whels off both rims were scored and marked inside, so it wasn't just stones. Something was rubbing on the wheels so the boys attacked the stone guards with hacksaws. "I haven't been in Scotland since the Jim Clark in 2009 then I did it this year," said Neil, "but this will be my first time on Scottish Gravel." He added: "I need a win this weekend in the BRC Challenge, Richard Sykes has two wins from two events, so if he does it again this weekend I might as well go home!"

Thursday 26 June 2014

Rally - the Swift guide

Earlier this week Vauxhall launched its new Vivaro van at the factory in Luton. Unlike the Danish trip a couple of weeks back driving the new Renault Trafic, this test drive had hills. Admittedly the hills in Oxfordshire are nothing like ours up here, the Pass of the Cattle for instance (go on google it if you don’t know it), but they were ideal to try out the torque in the new 1.6 litre engines which the Vauxhall van will use. In fact the 115hp single turbo engine it has more power and more torque that the outgoing 2 litre 115hp engine – and also better fuel economy. The twin turbo jobs are even better.

The Vauxhall PR department also had a wee show lined up for the visiting journalists. One of their ‘quality testers’ demonstrated the van at the end of the production line. And you all know who that was if you’ve watched the video clip, eh?

Anyway I had a word with Paul afterwards and asked him if he got the van up on 2 wheels first time. The cocky tyke, said “Yes”.

But seriously it took a day of prep to prepare for the video as he explained: “The van has much softer suspension than a car so it is a bit more difficult to control once it’s upon two wheels. It’s more nervous. We had to build new ramps too as the existing ramps for cars didn’t provide sufficient launch and weren’t strong enough for a commercial vehicle.”

And you know what, he didn’t even adjust the handbrake. That was the van straight off the production line that you saw getting wheeched about in the video clip.

Oh, and one more thing. A lot of people think this is ‘stunt driving’, Paul assures me it’s ‘precision driving’, but the great British public like to see ‘stunts’ so stunt driving it is!

Rally - World Cup fever

For one event only, the Volkswagen WRC team will use a rather unique service area floor protection mat at this weekend's Rally Poland. 

Out has gone the usual blue covered tarpaulin to be replaced with this one ...

Rally - Motors TV

Saturday 28 June
09:00 hrs, FIA WRC, Rd 7, Poland – Highlights (Day 1)
14:00 hrs, LIVE Goodwood FoS Hillclimb

Sunday 29 June
09:00 hrs, FIA WRC, Rd 7, Poland – Highlights (Day 2)
11:35 hrs, Goodwood FoS Hillclimb – Replay
22:35 hrs, FIA WRC, Rd 7, Poland – Highlights (Day 3)