|Ross Hunter in the Peugeot|
No such trouble for the winners though, Gary and Gordon Adam won this Scottish rallying season opener and the first round of the 2016 Blackwood Plant Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship. Their 41 second advantage over Alan Kirkaldy and Garry Muir sounds pretty convincing but over the final two stages, Kirkaldy was quicker just pipping Stuart Walker by 5 seconds for the runner-up place.
Although never slushy, the track was wet all day, even so, the Escorts shouldn't have won, should they? Walker looked just as quick, but the 2 litre Fabia just lacked the punch of the 2.5 Fords out of the corners. That shows just how much grip the Escorts were getting from their soft Michelin wets.
But surely the real star on the day was Ross Hunter in his 2 litre Peugeot 205. That poor wee thing (the car, not Ross) was rarely pointing in a straight line as Hunter braked later, stayed on the power longer and hurled the Peugeot round the corners in wonderful control to stay in touch with the leaders. By the half way point he was holding a pretty solid third place and only lost out on the final stage when a tyre punctured. Such cruel luck.
It was the same for James Gibb who was holding fourth place in his Fiesta till he too punctured a tyre on the penultimate test.
With a new helmet and HANS device, Ian Paterson got off to slow start but once he got used to them his pace picked up and he started to reel in Iain Wilson just clinching fourth place by ONE second on the final stage. Charlie Shaw made it three Subarus in a row taking sixth and just glad to finish after a not so memorable 2015.
Speaking of HANS devices, I know we've all criticised the cost following the MSA's decision to make them compulsory, but just ask Donald Bowness and Ian Parker. Their Nova went from 50mph to a dead stop against a fence post on the second stage. Both guys stepped out, shaken and stirred for sure, but with nothing more than bruises. What's the betting they'll look a pretty and blotchy colour this morning when they stand in front of a mirror, eh?
( Full report in the on-line mag on Wednesday )
1, Gary Adam/Gordon Adam (Ford Escort Mk2) 49m 32s
2, Alan Kirkaldy/Garry Muir (Ford Escort Mk2) 50m 13s
3, Stuart Walker/Julie McGuire (Skoda Fabia) 50m 18s
4, Ian Paterson/Alan Paterson (Subaru Impreza) 51m 11ss
5, Iain Wilson/David Kirkpatrick (Subaru Impreza) 51m 12s
6, Charles Shaw/Lindsay Shaw (Subaru Impreza) 51m 22s
7, Gareth White/Harry Marchbank (Citroen DS3 R3T) 51m 26s
8, Alistair Inglis/Colin Inglis (Lotus Exige) 51m 27s
9, Sean Robson/Heather Grisedale (Citroen C2R2 Max) 51m 36s
10, Stephen Thompson/David Crosbie (Ford Escort Mk2) 52m 05s