|A Champion line-up|
It’s all getting a bit feverish at the top now. Aaron Newby took 3 seconds out of rally leader Alister McRae on Stage 8 then one more second on Stage 9 top leave the gap at 9 seconds with one stage to go. As for David Bogie, he dropped out of the runner-up position on the 8th test when he punctured a rear tyre.
John Rintoul is now third but has no ambition with regard to the top spot. He said: “I’m quite happy for Alister to win as he’s come all the way from Australia!”
Top Mk2 is John Paterson who now has the Lancer of Quintin Milne between himself and sixth placed Gary Adam.
Another sudden heavy shower swept across the track during those two stages making things treacherous on the hillside rally stage as McRae found out: “I just got a wheel on the gravel and slid off, but rather than reverse back on to the stage I spotted a gap through the trees and just went for that and came out on the stage further along. I kept looking for David (Bogie) in the mirrors thinking he was going to catch me, but he said he went off too.”
And if you look at the bottom of the top ten, BTCC Champ Gordon Shedden has snuck in with co-driver Stuart Loudon commenting: “He’s showing promise as a rally driver, and you know what, he might make a half decent circuit racer too.” Some talent scout, eh.
Leaderboard after 9 (of 10) Special Stages:
1, Alister McRae / Craig Ritchie, Proton Satria, 29 minutes 59 seconds
2, Aaron Newby / Paula Swinscoe, Subaru Impreza, 30:08
3, John Rintoul / Ross Hynd, Hyundai Accent WRC, 30:47
4, John Paterson / Craig Wallace, Ford Escort, 31:10
5, Quintin Milne / Stephen O'Hanlon, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9, 31:14
6, Gary Adam / Gordon Adam, Ford Escort, 31:18
7, John MacCrone / Alasdair MacCrone, Ford Fiesta R5, 31:29
8, Tom Morris / Ashleigh Morris, MG Metro 6R4, 31:30
9, Ian Paterson / Helen Brown, Subaru Impreza N10, 31:42
10, Gordon Shedden / Stuart Loudon, Ford Escort, 31:49