Dust flies in cracking Argyll Rally

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Words and pictures by Gavin Brown, West Coast Photos

The Dunoon Presents Rally on June 23 saw the Scottish Rally Championship roll into town and 58 top-spec cars and crews take to the stages.

Dust flew in dry conditions up in the hills of Cowal as drivers tested their skills among forestry roads in what turned out to be an excellent rally.

The route this year was slightly different, with two new stages added to a schedule which saw the cars cover each of the four stages twice through the day with two service stops at Dunoon Stadium along the way.

There were a few well known Argyll faces out there, with mixed fortunes on the day.

Douglas Watt from Furnace managed to rebuild his Escort after its small excursion on the Scottish Rally in May and he was out again, hoping for better luck and a finish for he and his co-driver, Mark Grierson. The pair were steady, neat and quick all day and broke the timing beam on stage eight, Bishop’s Glen, to complete the rally in 23rd overall and third in class four.

Everything finally came together and the car and crew got the result they deserve. The collective sigh of relief could be heard in body shops and garages all across the land, with annual leave in  most of them on hold until Douglas’s result came in.

Duncan MacLean and Ian Parker were out in the mighty Peugeot 106 once more and were having a decent day, with a few hairy moments when the intercom wasn’t working (or so Duncan tells it) and unfortunately breaking a gearbox mount which, though fixed between stages, saw them over their time limit and out of the rally.

Mull ace Ally Currie and his Oban co-driver Grant MacNiven continued to chase the bigger more powerful machinery in his 150bhp Fiesta and was sitting third in the 2WD section when a problem that they had been experiencing for most of the day became worse – and the passenger side front wheel decided to part company on the approach to the start line of stage seven.

The family duo of Cara and Donald MacNeill made a welcome return to the stages, in new machinery this time, debuting their Subaru Impreza and bringing it home in one piece in 31st overall and second in class nine.

Mull’s James Campbell and Claire Tilley also got their Mitsubishi Evo to the finish and will be happy with the result.

The event was won by Kilmarnock’s Andrew Gallagher with Jane Nicol on the notes in the CobbleShop Ford Focus WRC.

The next rally action for Argyll is the Mach 1 Stages on the weekend of July 14/15 at Machrihanish.

 

PICS:

Photographs by West Coast Photos

Ally Currie and Grant MacNiven blasted it while their Fiesta was still on four wheels. no_a27ArgyllRally01

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Overall Winners Andrew Gallagher and Jane Nicol in their Ford Focus. no_a27ArgyllRally03

Donald MacNeill from Furnace and Cara MacNeill, Glasgow, make light work of the hairpin in their Subaru.  no_a27ArgyllRally04

James Campbell and Claire Tilley from Mull in their Mitsubishi. no_a27ArgyllRally05

Kicking up dust in their Peogeot 106 are Lochgilphead team Duncan MacLean and Ian Parker. no_a27ArgyllRally06