It would be a brave or foolish man who bet on the outcome of today’s Snowman Rally. Conditions are so unpredictable drivers have little chance of selecting the correct type, compound or size of tyres for today’s treacherously, multifarious surfaces.
Bruce McCombie now leads (14m 09s) by a second from Mark McCulloch with Garry Pearson in third place on 14m 23s. Garry was fastest through the second stage by 8 seconds from Jock Armstrong (back up to 15th o/a now) and perhaps surprisingly, Jock shared that second fastest time with a the fast improving John Wink.
Dale Robertson (currently 11th) put it into perspective: “I was off down an escape road in SS2,” he said, “it was gravel all the way till we got to the braking area – and it was sheet ice!”
Quintin Milne dropped back a bit (4th o/a) on SS2: “I’m using the same tyres I won the Border Counties with 3 years ago in wintry conditions, but I wanted to save them for later so I put gravel on for that last one. It’s too easy to get punctures with the snow tyres so we’ll have to wait to see if we got the tactics right!”
Garry Pearson was quickest through SS2: “I was surprised at that, I couldn’t get my braking right. I was either braking too early or too late, and got one wheel in a ditch at one point. The first stage was difficult, there were only a couple of gravel sections, the rest was sheet ice.”
It was a point shared by rally leader Bruce McCombie: “I was over cautious in SS2. There was grip to be had, the trouble was you didn’t know where it was!”
Even when you did know there were no guarantees, as John MacCrone observed: “We spun on ice at the bridge in the first test – right at the bit I had marked on my Notes to slow down!
Snow and sleet showers are continuing to sweep the far north interspersed with brief periods of weak and watery sunshine. So if you think the drivers are having it tough, spare a thought for the Marshals.