|Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol|
Delight, despair, disaster. All this and more on the Arnold Clark Snowman Rally. But there was one fairy tale – victory for Andrew Gallacher and Jane Nicol, the former double Scottish Saloon Car Racing Champ’s first ever outright victory on gravel. Or in this case, ice, mud, frozen mud and also some gravel.
It was close. Just 6 seconds behind after a blistering time through the final stage was Quintin Milne overtaking Reay MacKay and Steven Clark to snatch the runner-up spot with Donnie MacDonald coming through to grab third.
Gallacher’s feat all the more remarkable considering the fact that he used second hand tyres on his Ford Focus WRC throughout the day. Milne spun on SS2 while MacDonald, spun, stalled and punctured on the same test. For once, Gallacher had the sensible head on: “The chicanes were a bit tight in the second stage,” said Andrew, “I was careful. I didn’t want to damage the car.”
Everybody complained about lack of grip all day in conditions which ranged from dry and slippery, to wet and slippery, to frozen and slippery, but the clue was in the name, the SNOWman Rally and yet everyone said they enjoyed it. Still, I suppose masochism can be a ‘joy’ to some.
John Wink rounded off the top half dozen edging out Bruce McCombie who punctured on the first stage of the day. Worse befell Mike Faulkner who cowped it on the opening test as did Barry Groundwater – twice: “I slid off at the same place as Mike,” said Barry, “but got back on, then fell off again just three corners later!” Scott McCombie was off too and Shaun Sinclair fared little better as he slid off on the second test.
Mark McCulloch was equal fastest with Gallacher on the first stage of the day, but a misfire cost him dear on the second stage and he dropped out of the top ten. And young Lawrence Whyte lost over 3 minutes in a ditch in the second test.
Two more good results – Greg McKnight 8th overall in the Mk2 and young Finlay Retson 21st o/a in his R2 on his first experience of snow and ice, and didn’t the girls do well. Nikki Addison and Rachel Matheson on their second rally got their Peugeot 106 round in one piece to finish 54th overall – and no ditches were gouged nor trees harmed in the process. Gaun yersels girls.
Final Leaderboard after 6 (of 6) stages:
1, A Gallacher, Ford Focus WRC, 46m 28s
2, Quintin Milne, Subaru Impreza, 46m 34s
3, Donnie MacDonald, Ford Fiesta R5, 46m 48s
4, Reay MacKay, Ford Focus WRC, 46m 51s
5, Steven Clark, Mitsubishi Lancer, 47m 09s
6, John Wink, Hyundai i20 R5, 47m 13s
7, Bruce McCombie, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, 47m 31s
8, Greg McKnight, Ford Escort Mk2, 48m 12s
9, John Morrison, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9, 48m 16s
10, Fred Milne, Subaru Impreza, 48m 22s