Things were slightly different at this weekend's Summer Stages Rally at Crail. For a start the MSA had made some recommendations about running this single venue event and had requested a Yellow Flag system be adopted at certain sections around the course. Similarly, the spectators are being severely restricted and corralled where they can be managed much better. No wandering across the airfield during the day is to be permitted.
That's to be expected after recent tragic events, but it places more pressure on organisers and much more responsibility on spectators. Nobody ever claimed that rallying was a spectator sport, it just happened. Fast cars and skilful drivers exert a fascination on all sorts of folk, and if you throw in the natural terrain, as opposed to custom built race tracks, rallying takes on a whole new appeal and compulsion. It's also worth pointing out that it wasn't strictly 'spectators' who were involved in those fatalities two weeks ago, two of them were 'signed-on' Media personnel, a photographer and journalist. So it's not just spectators who have to be controlled ...
Anyway, after the first damp and slithery test this morning with conditions drying out for Stage 2, John Rintoul has taken the lead in his Hyundai WRC which looked like a MkII at times. "It really didn't feel that way," smirked John, "even when it was sliding the traction was there and it felt stable."
Past Crail winner, Alistair Inglis hasn't given up hope of catching him: "It helps when you switch the anti-lag on," admitted the slightly chastened Lancer pilot.
John Paterson is a sight to behold in the MkII and top RWD runner in third place, ahead of Tom Morris in the Metro. Ross Fernie is fifth in the Impreza ahead of David Ross going and sounding well in the DAM 4100 GTi.
As for Nigel Feenery, the Subaru is on the trailer. His co-driver is unwell and after striking the merge divider during a call change, he thought discretion the better part of valour. It's only panel damage though. Further down the field, Stephen Hay is out. The Corsa broke it's gearbox leaving Stephen with just one gear - reverse!
Leaderboard after 2 (of 8) stages:
1, John Rintoul, 15m 06s
2, Alistair Inglis, 15m 27s
3, John Paterson, 15m 36s
4, Tom Morris, 15m 39s
5, Ross Fernie, 15m 48s
6, David Ross, 15m 53s
7, Colin Gemmell, 16m 00s
8, Gary Adam, 16m 00s
9, Peter Gibson, 16m 03s
10, Ross Marshall, 16m 05s