The Nationals have already clocked in at the end of the first full day of this year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB but who is actually leading has yet to be determined. After the first run through SS5 at Slate Mountain, John Wink was leading Andrew Gallacher and Roger Duckworth. But after the second run through the same stage, Wink had slipped to third. His actual time differs from the Marshals’ recorded time by exactly 30 seconds so it looks as though someone has slipped up and co-driver John Forrest has officially queried it. Once corrected (fingers crossed) then Wink will be back in the lead.
“It’s treacherous out there,” said John, “conditions are so changeable, from grippy to mud, from tarmac to mud covered tarmac. I’m just struggling to get the car to stop due to the differing levels of grip,” and he admitted, “we did hit a chicane bale, but John F just wanted to check the gauge of the plastic used to wrap it!”
Andrew Gallacher was very lucky, rounding a fast left hander on the long test he met Tom Preston’s rolled car blocking the stage. There was no room to stop and no grip either, so he just handbraked it and spun. Really lucky to get away with it. Then later on he broke a driveshaft which necessitated a call to Paul Benn (again) to get a spare one down to them tonight.
Simon Hay is currently 6th and Alan Dickson 9th. Simon was nursing a sore head at the end of “that quarry stage” when he rattled his helmet off the big wings on his seat and Alan was content to just get through today and then push on tomorrow as he reckons the stages will be better.
Ellya Gold is delighted to get beyond two stages (after last year!) and is apparently enjoying it (masochist?) but James Gibb isn’t. He enjoyed the first stage but all the wheel nuts fell off one wheel in SS2 and they had to swap around nuts to get through the next one. Then they punctured a tyre and had to stop and change, but this time the nuts were seized and then the jack broke. So they’ve incurred a 2m 50s time penalty. And that is the short edited ‘clean’ version of what was reported.
Ernie Lee had a puncture but is still smiling, Carl Tuer spun avoiding a helmet-sized rock in a stage and Gordon Alexander had to stop and change a wheel too. Then he jammed the intercom lead in the door when he jumped back in the car and couldn’t hear a peep out of Ian for the rest of the stage. Niall Cowan Jnr was going well in the long one, catching 4 cars – then it was red-flagged!
An eventful Day 1 all round but it would be fair to say that Slate Mountain was not universally liked by all those who drove and rattled through it on a surface littered with ‘tin-openers’ as some described the rocks. Conditions generally have been wet, slippery and slimey despite a dry-ish start to the day – before the drizzle and rain came on. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
For full results and to see if Wink is re-instated keep an eye on: