It was raining when the 75 (plus reserves) crews turned up at Ingliston this morning for the DCC Stages Rally. So the first stage was slippery and wet but a dry line appearing. The second stage was better and by the start of the third stage, blue sky and sunshine had mostly replaced the damp and the dreich.
That certainly helped Nigel Feeney who got the best of the conditions running with number 82 on the doors of the Subaru as he was one of the first reserves to get a run after some non-shows.
That's not say he didn't deserve it, but now that he's got his nose in front, he'll be hard to beat. On the dry third and fourth stages he was still quick with Bruce Edwards in the Darrian equalling his time on the third test and 2 seconds under on the fourth. There's now 7 seconds between them with 4 more stages to go.
Third and fourth is even closer. The Subaru of Colin Gemmell leads Andrew Gallacher by 2 seconds with Gallacher slightly hampered by 'running-in' a new engine in the Escort Cosworth.
Hamish Kinloch is currently 6th in the Honda engined Mk2 but Stuart Walker is closing the gap in his Skoda Fabia and there's just 2 seconds between them. First time out in a new Subaru, Lee Hastings is 8th ahead of the 2 litre GTM of Edward Todd with Stuart Ballie rounding off the top ten in his Subaru after delays on the first three stages, first with a bad misfire, second with a slightly less bad misfire and on the third with a burst brake pipe.
Jim McDowall was in the top six after the first 2 tests but changed tyres too early. If it had worked it would have been inspired, but it didn't and he dropped a chunk of time. Alan Kirkaldy lost time in the first stage when the flat-shift got stuck in 2nd gear and Ian Paterson is out. The Subaru had a misfire on the first stage and then just cut out completely and refused to start. 35 minutes later when the crew went to retrieve it, it fired up first time!
Leaderboard after 4 (of 8) stages:
1, N Feeney, 34m 35s
2, B Edwards, 34m 42s
3, C Gemmell, 34m 55s
4, A Gallacher, 34m 57s
5, H Kinloch, 35m 50s
6, S Walker, 35m 52s
7, L Hastings, 36m 00s
8, J Gibb, 36m 01s
9, E Todd, 36m 02s
10, S Baillie, 36m 13s