At least there was one Scot in the top three at the end of the Pirelli Rally, but it wasn’t David Bogie. Stuart Loudon co-drove Matthew Wilson to second place after Bogie’s retirement. But take nothing away from the young Swedish driver, Fredrik Ahlin. He’s a find. Despite the celebrity queue behind him, he held his nerve over the final three Kielder stages this morning to clinch a superlative victory by 27 seconds.
As for Bogie, lying second last night, his undoing happened on the first stage of the day: “It was a really fast bit,” said David, “flat in fifth down a long hill and I was just too late on the brakes. I tried to drop a wheel in the ditch to pull me round but it caught and it spun. The car finished up with its nose in the ditch and rear wheels on the edge of the stage. Kevin ran back to try and keep cars on the outer line while I tried to get it out, but it was just too quick. I was scared I would get it halfway out just as one of the really quick boys was coming through. Much safer to stay where it was. There was no damage to the car, just a front bumper.”
It was a point echoed by Matthew Wilson who punctured in that stage: “In fact I think I caught a boulder pulled out by David,” said Matthew, “I saw it, but I couldn’t miss it. It was so fast, flat in fifth doing about 110/115 mph, I was just too busy hanging on to the wheel. It demolished the wheel and tyre!”
Elfyn Evans was able to regain third place but ran out of miles to challenge for anything better. Still it put a smile on Malcolm’s face, three Fiestas in the top three places.
However, the Scots did score one exceptional result with Donnie MacDonald winning the National Cup in 12th place overall in the Mitsubishi. Freddie Milne did well too finishing 16th in his Mitsubishi just ahead of the Fiesta of Alex Laffey.
And one more result to cherish, Kirsty Riddick co-drove the Jonny Greer Citroen DS3 into sixth place, so that put two Scots in the top six overall.
John Morrison had a miserable rally: “I got one good stage out of the weekend,” he said, “and that was the last one on Saturday night when we put new plugs in it. I had a spare set so I put them in ahead of this morning. Bad move. It was not good. I’m not happy.” He finished 22nd overall one place ahead of Nigel Feeney who was happier with the Subaru this morning after softening up the suspension last night.
Blair Brown was happy with a finish in 26th place but not happy with his performance: “I’m still struggling to make notes for gravel stages,” said Blair, “I’m OK on tarmac, but it was so fast here that we just didn’t get the notes right. Call it work in progress.”
Lee Hastings finished 31st but ruined what might have been a good run with a maximum in the last stage yesterday: “I saw a post dead ahead and had to decide, go left or right. I chose left, and ended up in the boondocks!”
Euan Thorburn finished way down the order after his troubles yesterday but just keen to put some miles on the Peugeot. An event to forget perhaps. Ian Baumgart only did the Saturday stages and was going well while Linzi Henderson’s rally ended in a Pundershaw ditch. As for Thaarique Fazal, the Corsa was last seen going in to the penultimate test – but didn’t come out!
Leaderboard after 7 (of 7) stages:
1, F Ahlin, 1h 05m15.6s
2, M Wilson, 1h 05m 43.2s
3, E Evans, 1h 05m 46.7s
4, T Cave, 1h 06m 08.8s
5, M McCormack, 1h 06m 39.0s
6, J Greer, 1h 07m 10.2s
7, D Henry, 1h 08m 32.6s
8, N Simpson, 1h 08m 36.3s
9, J Anderson, 1h 08m 48.2s
10, M Vatanen, 1h 09.02.8s
12, D MacDonald, 1h 11m01.9s
16, F Milne, 1h 12m 41.7s
17, A Laffey, 1h 12m 52.2s