Arron Newby scored a narrow 20 second victory over Alan Kirkaldy in a fast fought, icy duel at Knockhill on the Grant Construction Stages Rally, the Subaru just managing to squeeze out a few seconds here and there over Kirkaldy's Mk2.
Kirkaldy was leading after three stages but by only 3 seconds when the car had locked up under braking on the slippery surface on SS4 and he slid straight on at a junction. That cost him 10 seconds to Newby who took full advantage. "It was 3 corners from the end of the third stage," said Alan, "I had 2 wheels on the concrete and 2 wheels on the gravel and it just locked up. It was either try to make the corner and hit the rocks or take to the escape road. I opted for the escape road!"
"I'm just loving it," said Arron, "I haven't enjoyed a rally this much for ages. It's got a bit of everything, fast stuff and slow, gravel and tarmac, and Alan (Kirkaldy) is giving me a hard time. I can just manage to get ahead of him on the gravel section but he takes most of the time back when we get on the circuit."
In the first of the family fechts of the day Ross Marshall beat his Dad, John, to grab third place. First time out in the Skoda S2500 he beat the Subaru by 21 seconds to secure the final podium position.
Gary Adam finished fifth after a slow time on the first stage 'cos he was running Number 1. That gave following drivers an idea of where the grip was in the slippery conditions and although Gary fought back to grab fifth from Ian Paterson, that was as good as he was going to get on the day.
Iain Wilson was 7th ahead of Gordon Morrison, and the other family fecht of the day. Young Taylor Gibb managed to gub his Dad, James - by 2 seconds. Going into the final stage they were dead level and Taylor did the business. That should make the family banter over the breakfast table on Monday morning worth a listen. And if the boy appears at work with a thick ear we'll all know why, eh?
Ross Hunter won class 3 in his Peugeot 205, just missing out on a top ten finish by 22 seconds while Gareth White scored an emphatic Class 2 win in his Peugeot 208 R2. Michael Robertson took the Class 1 win despite a couple of over enthusiastic late braking and overtaking manoeuvres in his Peugeot 106.
Bob Grant was going well, first time out in his newly acquired Hyundai Accent WRC, till he overshot his braking point on the penultimate stage and got bogged down in the boondocks, and Quintin Milne showed a bit of maturity (Yes, I know!) when he stopped with two stages to go when he smelled smoke in the Escort's cabin.
1 Arron Newby/Andrw Leach (Subaru Impreza) 45m 55s
2 Alan Kirkaldy/Cameron Fair (Ford Escort Mk2) 46m 15s
3 Ross Marshall/Ross Hynd (Skoda S2500) 46m 41s
4 John Marshall/Scott Crawford (Subaru Impreza) 47m 02s
5 Gary Adam/Connor Adam (Ford Escort Mk2) 47m 09s
6 Ian Paterson/Heather Grisedale (Subaru Impreza) 47m 35s
7 Iain Wilson/Robin Neil (Subaru Impreza) 47m 50s
8 Gordon Morrison/Callum McPherson (Subaru Impreza) 48m 04s
9 Taylor Gibb/Jane Nicol (Subaru Impreza) 48m 15s
10 James Gibb/Charley Sayer-Payne (Mitsubishi Evo9) 48m 17s