Sitting here outside the Harbour Buiding in Tobermory the cars can be heard climbing the hill towards the notorious Mishnish Lochs, and then comes that blood stirring cacophany of noise as they take off from the start line high on the hill overhead. Sounds a lot better than seagulls anyway.
James MacGillivray still leads after the first three stages in daylight, but by only a second, that man Duffy has closed the gap. The surprising thing is that both of them looked so relaxed and pressure-free outside their cars. Sweat is for normal human beings, not blokes like these.
"It was wet through the rocks at Loch Kinloch," said James, "that's what saved us. We've got big cuts in the slicks," and added, "but my god what a lot of spectators out there."
That was a point echoed by Duffy: "There's loads of spectators, but they are standing well back and in sensible places. The message seems to be getting through." Commenting on his gap-closing efforts to the leader, Calum smiled: "I tried some Kumhos in Ireland 3 weeks ago and this is my secret weapon for this afternoon. I normally have tyre wear issues over Mishnish. The plan is to leave all this rubber in there and not run out of it or bring any excess out." Don't know about you, but it sounds like a plan to me.
Tristan Pye is holding a strong third place but admitted: "I had a bit of a straight-on in Scridain," he grinned, "It was the far side of the triangle at the junction and it is gravelly rather than tarmac. I was being careful but I still slid straight on."
John MacCrone laughed: "I did it too, but I just nipped the handbrake and brought the tail round - almost too much."
But what about the rest? Billy Bird summed it up best, after a character building wet, dark start to his rally the previous night with all sorts of unseen and hidden horrors out there: "That's the problem with daylight - I can see now!"
Daniel Harper broke his steering, Mark Constantine had a 5th gear spin in his Corsa "just over a crest into a Left, my foot slipped off the brake and hit the accelerator", Steven Clark had a half spin "I'm still left foot braking too much" and Eddie O'Donnell says he has a bit of catching up to do "so I need to keep my side windows clean!"
Leaderboard after 9 (of 20) stages:
1, J MacGillivray, 1h 04m 48s
2, C Duffy, 1h 04m 49s
3, T Pye, 1h 07m 07s
4, J MacCrone, 1h 08m 15s
5, J Mounsey, 1h 08m 59s
6, D Weir, 1h 09m 10s
7, D McGeehan, 1h 09m 34s
8, J Cope, 1h 10m 35s
9, S Sinclair, 1h 10m 37s
10, R Cook, 1h 10m 24s