Shaun Sinclair will go to bed tonight with a 32 second lead at the end of Day 1 of the Mach 1 Stages Rally at Machrihanish in the Mull of Kintyre. That’s not a big gap, considering there are another 35 miles of stages tomorrow. Behind him, it’s all to play for as 13 seconds cover the next three places.
On a day of changeable weather conditions, Sinclair expressed himself pleased with his progress in the Subaru, but it was tinged with a note of caution: “She’s a good old tool, the brakes are awesome, but we’ve got a slight oil leak tonight so we’ll need to keep an eye on that tomorrow.”
Tyres played an important part in the day’s proceedings with the wily Sinclair taking every advantage. Ever the opportunist he explained: “After the first two stages I went to Andrew Wood for tyres and asked for four ‘9’s, and Andrew said John Rintoul had just been there and had chosen a set of ‘7’s. I thought if that’s what John has gone for, that’ll do me.” He had already taken 5 seconds out of Rintoul on the first two tests and proceeded to take 18 more on the next two!
Bruce Edwards held second place in the Darrian and is praying for dry weather tomorrow: “At least I was consistent today,” he said, “I picked the wrong tyres for EVERY stage.”
After a spin on the third stage, Alistair Inglis fought back to third place in the Lotus: “The engine was rebuilt after Crail so I was running it in over the first two stages.” Even so, he was fifth quickest on the opening test.
John Marshall was fourth in his Subaru despite entertaining the crowds at the spectator point where the tarmac changes to smooth gravel, with Alan Kirkaldy in fifth place, but the Escort was giving him cause for concern: “When it gets hot, the sequential shift stops working and I have to change gear manually. Trouble is, the stick ‘centres’ after each change and I don’t know what gear I’m in.” Of more concern latterly was a warped brake disc, but he managed to beg/borrow/steal a pair from Barry at Densport so he’ll be busy tonight.
Rounding off the top six was the Hyundai of John Rintoul, still laughing at Sinclair’s cheek: “He uses my tyre choice and then goes out and whups me!”
Tom Morris was seventh in the Metro with a smiling Barry Renwick in eighth place in the Proton: “We found another broken wire in the starter motor after Crail,” he said, “so fingers crossed, it’s been behaving itself today – so far.”
Ian Paterson was ninth at the overnight halt just 3 seconds in front of Colin Gemmell. Already out are John Paterson and Brian Watson. JP’s Escort was spotted stranded out in the midfield, but we don’t know why, and Watson’s Mitsubishi broke a bottom suspension arm.
Sean Robson leads the 1600s in his Citroen by 6 seconds from Gareth White in the Peugeot and Greg Inglis is third in his Citroen. As for Murray Coulthard he converted his Citroen to a three wheeler on the first stage after striking a kerb. Steven Hay leads the 1400 class in his Corsa by 18 seconds from the Rover Metro of Innes Mochrie.
Leaderboard after 8 (of 12) stages:
1, Shaun Sinclair, 44m 37s
2, Bruce Edwards, 45m 09s
3, Alistair Inglis, 45m 13s
4, John Marshall, 45m 15s
5, Alan Kirkaldy, 45m 22s
6, John Rintoul, 45m 41s
7, Tom Morris, 46m 03s
8, Barry Renwick, 46m 06s
9, Ian Paterson, 46m 17s
10, Colin Gemmell, 46m 20s