Friday 30 August 2019

Rally - Jim Clark Rally

If anyone thought organising a Closed Road Rally would be easy (compared to forest stage events) then an 'Information Release' issued earlier this week by Scottish Borders Council will enlighten those misguided optimists that such an undertaking is not for the weak willed or faint hearted.

The Council was responding to the results of their recent SBC consultation on the organiser’s plans. This process received more than 700 responses, with an overwhelming majority supporting the proposals for 12 rally stages, using four routes, over the two days.

Councillor Euan Jardine, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Sport thanked everyone who took part, and added: "A number of specific points were raised and these have been passed to the event organiser and discussed through our Safety Advisory Group meetings. We are all operating under new legislation in planning for this event, however, we are confident that the outstanding matters can be dealt with through the intense planning process that is ongoing and for the event to take place as currently proposed.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “Whilst a smaller event than in previous years, there is no doubt that a Jim Clark Rally in November would provide an economic boost to the Berwickshire area, and the Scottish Borders generally. This would be a great finale to the year which has seen the successful opening of the Jim Clark Motorsport Museum in Duns. The economic impact of the proposed event is, as written in the new legislation, a consideration for the Council in assessing whether it should go ahead, however our priority, first and foremost, is that it is as safe as possible for all involved.”

The organising team at the Jim Clark Memorial Rally also had their own announcement with the appointment of a new addition to the team. David Gray from Newry in Northern Ireland will become Clerk of the Course for the event which is scheduled to take place on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th of November 2019.

Already well known across the water David brings with him huge experience and knowledge of running Closed Road events in Northern Ireland. A former competitor turned organiser, he was CofC for the Ulster Rally for 5 years during which time it became a round of the FIA ERC. He is also Chairman of a unique Northern Ireland body called '2&4' which represents both Regulated Car and Motorcycle Clubs at Government Level.

Long may the 'craic' reign, eh?

Rally - 'Back' to work?

Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin will miss the forthcoming WRC event in Turkey, but are all set to make their competitive return to the FIA World Rally Championship on home soil in October. 

The M-Sport pairing had to miss out on Finland and Germany as Elfyn continues to recover from his back injury sustained at Rally Estonia, but they were determined not to miss out on their home event at Wales Rally GB.
Elfyn said: “I’ve been working really closely with the specialists and it’s great to know that I’ll be fit and ready to contest my home event in Wales. There’s something special about competing on home soil, and this is the rally I look forward to every year. It’s where I claimed my first victory, and the support we get there is incredible. It’s important to ensure I’m 100 per cent fit before coming back, so I won’t be in Turkey. As frustrating as that is, I trust the experts and know how important it is to make sure the injury is fully healed. When I come back I want to be at full strength and able to pick up where we left off – challenging for the top results over the final part of the season.”

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Save Scottish Rallying

Following last week's important meeting in Stirling, there was a personal column in last week's 'Motorsport News' and for those who didn't read it and might want to know what was said, it has been re-printed in all it turgid, colourful glory in the on-line mag. There is just one proviso, the on-line magazine version is just a teeny wee bit longer than the one printed in the weekly paper - a two mugs of coffee job rather than a singular Espresso. That's because Motorsport News columnists are limited to 450 words.  That in itself is a great exercise, as the writer has to strip the message back to the bare essentials to get the main points of the article across but sometimes, just sometimes , 450 words are not enough. On that basis, here is the full, pre-edited column!

The full text is here:

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Rally - Redemption

No doubt there were quite a few 'home folks' on  the edge of their seats on Sunday just waiting for disaster to befall. It didn't, and Kris Meeke and Seb Marshall scored a magnificent runner-up place on Rally Germany 20 seconds behind Toyota Gazoo team leader Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja.

With Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila in third place it provided Toyota with their first clean sweep of all podium places since the 1993 Safari Rally, although they actually had four Celica Turbos in the top 4 places that year. Incidentally that result coincided with a certain Colin McRae's Safari debut in, of all things, a supercharged 600cc Subaru Vivio. He didn't finish. The poor wee thing broke its suspension, on the first stage!

At Rally Germany finish, Kris commented: “I’m delighted. I could have had four or five, maybe six podiums already this year, and through different issues and my own mistakes, we never got there. To be on the podium and to bring a big haul of points to Toyota with a perfect score, a 1-2-3, it’s special to be part of this weekend. To take maximum points for the manufacturers’ championship is really important. I felt good in the Yaris all weekend, it gave me great confidence, and I definitely was able to drive at a good speed and be comfortable.”

It wasn't all plain sailing though, Tänak had a bit of a problem with his brakes problems to the extent that he had to back off on the closing Wolf Power Stage. Although he lost out on extra points, he had enough of a margin to keep Kris Meeke at bay by 20.8sec with Latvala a further 15.2sec behind.

Thierry Neuville was having quite a battle with Tänak early on, but having to stop and change a punctured tyre dropped him out of contention for the lead.

In fact three Hyundais filled the next three places with Dani Sordo initially 4th, but sacrificed his position by incurring a penalty which allowed team-mate Neuville to move up from 5th and collect more WRC points.

There were more team tactics behind. Esapekka Lappi was 6th, but adopted the same strategy as Sordo to enable Citroën C3 team leader Sébastien Ogier to climb from eighth to seventh. Lappi dropped two places and Andreas Mikkelsen also profited as he inherited sixth.

Ogier and Lappi both struggled with major understeer and world champion Ogier now trails Tänak by 40 points and Neuville by seven.

As for M-Sport Ford it was another weekend to forget. Teemu Suninen lost time on the very first stage of the rally when the Fiesta was halted by a broken wire in the engine bay. Gus Greensmith fared little better having to change a steering arm on his Fiesta. On a more encouraging note both cars were setting competitive times when they were running after their problems.

(Thanks to Toyota Gazoo for the pics)

Final positions
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h15m29.8s
2 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +20.8s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +36.0s

4 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +58.5s
5 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m16.6s
6 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m46.2s
7 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +1m56.3s
8 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +2m02.2s
9 Gus Greensmith/Elliott Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +6m22.2s
10 Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +8m19.2s

FIA WRC (Rd 10 of 14)
1 Ott Tänak - 205pts
2 Thierry Neuville - 172pts
3 Sebastien Ogier - 165pts
4 Kris Meeke – 80 points
5 Andreas Mikkelsen – 79 points
6 Elfyn Evans – 78 points

Friday 23 August 2019

Rally - Grampian Gossip

Has Ryan Champion got a fan, an autograph hunter or more worryingly is the selfie-seeker a stalker? Should he be concerned? Also, four Scottish crews went to Rally Finland, and four returned intact, well almost intact. There is also a unique glimpse into the technical mind of one John McClory Esq. All will be explained in the Grampian Gossip roundup now in the on-line mag. That brings coverage of this year's Grampian Forest Rally to a close, so the next stop is the Galloway Hills on the 14th Sept.