James MacGillivray continues to lead the 2014 Tunnocks Mull Rally in his Subaru ahead of the Escort MkII of Calum Duffy.
It's always a psychological thing, but Duffy popped in a quick one before bed, if you see what I mean. MacGillivray was quickest over stages 4 and 5 while Calum the Comet was quicker by 3 seconds over the sixth one. I said quicker, not quickest, because that marker fell to John MacCrone. He was an incredible 13 seconds quicker than Duffy up the Hill Road and over Mishnish Lochs. He's now up to fourth place overall after losing a minute and a half on the first stage of the rally. And he's only in a Fiesta R200.
As ever, MacGillivray was about as talkative as a frozen statue, but he seemed happy enough: "The Hill Road was slippy, the Locks were OK." Talk about playing your cards close to your chest! As for Duffy, he didn't need a gearbox change after all: "It was a linkage problem," explained Calum, "the paddles were loose behind the steering wheel and that's why the gearbox was self-selecting, but I'm using the stick now. That last stage was the best so far - no standing water."
Tristan Pye is going exceptionally well, mixing it with the locals, but going at his own pace, the Subaru driver currently holdig third place at the overnight halt while MacCrone is now fourth: "The flat shift isn't working so I'm having to use the clutch," said John, "It's not so easy to drive like that, but I've had this problem before on Mull."
Doug Weir is another quick driver happy with his own pace pushing his MkII into fifth saying: "That last one was just damp, but I've been more sideways tonight than I've ever been on this island." John Mounsey has climbed back up to sixth place after his earlier driveshaft breakage: "I've got four shafts now, and this car only has one speed."
Derek McGeechan is another who has moved back into the top ten, the MINI WRC driver saying some very complimentary things about the rally: "The Hill Road was too narrow for the car and I was catching the gravel edges, but that last part was a real nice stage - all them hairpins. The car is working well now."
Daniel Harper lost ground on the hairpin above Dervaig: "There's just no grip out there. The car swapped ends on me at the hairpin, then I couldn't get reverse." MINI team mate John Cressey has improved the handling of his car: "I took off the rear anti-roll bar completely. It's made the back end a bit loose, but it handles like an Escort now."
It also looks as though Peter Taylor is out. He had a brake problem earlier and although he set a good time in SS4, he dropped nearly 3 minutes to the leaders in SS5, and the Fiesta didn't come out of service. Iain Ogg McKenzie is possibly out too having broken the propshaft in his Escort.
And if you think Curly Haigh is daft, he's got a matching co-driver. When Sally's rally watch broke, they unscrewed the kitchen clock off the wall in the digs, and Sally is using that cos it's got a big second hand. It's also more than a foot in diameter and she's hanging on to it along with her Notes in the stages.
Shaun Sinclair is currently lying in 8th place having been as high as fifth after three: "I'm going backwards now," said Shaun, "I terrified myself in those last three. It's horrendous out there. I'm looking forward to daylight."
Considering what has gone on out there tonight, he won't be the only one. The southern half of the island was very wet While Tobermory and the north was relatively dry, but the weather forecast is set fair for tomorrow - afternoon. Who knows what horrors will be hidden in the dark tomorrow night.
Leaderboard after 6 (of 20) stages:
1, J MacGillivray, 51m 31s
2, C Duffy, 52m 01s
3, T Pye, 53m 23s
4, J MacCrone, 54m 43s
5, D Weir, 55m 11s
6, J Mounsey, 55m 12s
7, T Stell, 55m 19s
8, S Sinclair, 55m 43s
9, D McGeechan, 56m 09s
10, B Bird, 56m 21s