20 Jun: Rintoul wins at Crail

… UK Rally Scene Summer Stages Rally/Junior Rally, Sat 15 June …

Crail was almost invisible on the approach in the early hours as a thick North Sea haar cloaked the airfield, and it was still misty when the first cars hit the track for the UK Rally Scene Summer Stages Rally. A perfect backdrop for the ghostly white Fiesta R5 of John Rintoul and Ross Hynd to go about its business. Which it did in exemplary style. The crew was never headed all day as John and Ross racked up their first victory since Crail 4 years ago.

Winner of the previous Cobble Shop Scottish Tarmack Championship round Alistair Inglis didn’t make it beyond the first stage. The Lotus Exige spun backwards into a tyre route marker damaging the rear mounted exhaust and manifold. The car wasn’t really mechanically damaged but the exhaust tubing was well creased and beyond the efforts of a man with a hammer.

The expected threat from Andrew Kirkaldy also failed to materialise when his Ford Escort Mk2 suffered a recurrence of its fuel pressure problems from last month’s Granite Rally and was withdrawn after 3 stages as they didn’t want to risk the engine.

That left Colin Gemmell with Pete McCallum holding second place overall in the Ford Escort Mk2. Colin was looking a bit happier at Crail: “I had the engine refreshed a couple of weeks ago. It’s done 2000 mile y’know.” He’s also getting the handling sorted out to his satisfaction too: “I’ve re-fitted the front roll bar – so no understeer today!”

With Gemmell on form, John Marshall was slower off the mark but had started to close him down in his Subaru Impreza till it struck a route marker tyre and broke a wheel: “The power steering was a bit ‘sticky’ in the first stage and it started jumping out of 4th gear in SS2, but these were easily fixed,” said John.

Equalling his best result and finishing on the podium for the second time was Greg Inglis, with Colin Harkness, in his Lotus Exige. They might well have put Gemmell under more of a threat had it not been for brake fade over the first two stages which was later cured by changing the fluid and fitting harder disc pads. However, it was poor Colin who provided the extra spectator entertainment on the day. The Exige is not the ideal car to demonstrate one’s physical flexibility and agility getting in and out – or the lack of it!

Alan Gardiner scored a fine fourth in his Escort Mk1 but was still disappointed: “The car’s good but the pace just isn’t there.” He finished just 10 seconds ahead of Richard Sutherland’s sideways, tyre smoking Opel Manta while Andy Horne rounded off the top half dozen second time out in the Darrian.

Brian Watson was setting top six times till he encountered the WRC inspired ‘Do’Nut’ test in SS3, and missed it! The ‘hazard’ was set up just a few yards from the start line in full view of the spectator banking and the Subaru just sailed past it, before it stopped, and as Brian tried to turn the car around it stalled and stubbornly refused to fire up. Sickeningly, when the boys went to collect the car at the end of the stage it fired first stab of the button!

The 1600cc class honours went this time to Kyle Adam finishing an impressive 7th o/a in his Mk2 despite the frenetic attentions of Des Campbell in the Peugeot 206 and Stephen Hay in his Corsa. Adam’s car looked quite tidy at the finish with just one n/s front ‘crinkle’ while Campbell’s car bore the physical evidence of his efforts to catch him with both flanks of the wee Peugeot well marked! Hay was off the pace using his spare ‘box in the Corsa as the dog ‘box is still undergoing mechanical resuscitation but 11th overall was still impressive.

Alan Wallace in the Evo6 separated Adam from Campbell in 8th place overall with Michael Robertson rounding off the top ten in the Civic. Quite remarkable really considering the Honda still runs standard discs and brakes and Michael is not one of life’s most mechanically sympathetic drivers: “That extra lap today really tested the brakes. The pads actually turned white and then broke up!”

Young Harry Chalmers drove well in the Subaru, finishing 14th overall behind the Escorts of Graham Bruce and Robert Marshall. Joe McKeand finished 15th overall with his Subaru just ahead of the 1400 class winner Stephen Bethwaite who scored a marvellous 16th o/a in his Nova Sport. James Strachan finished some way off the pace in his Peugeot 106 but got 2nd in class with the Nova of Meghan O’Kane taking 3rd with Meghan’s times showing great improvement on every run.

Having finished 3rd o/a three events ago and second last time out, Cameron Davidson scored his first Junior 1000 victory at the weekend in his VW Up! Ollie Hunter was only 6 seconds slower over the first test, but his Peugeot 10 broke a driveshaft on SS2.

1 John Rintoul/Ross Hynd (Ford Fiesta R5) 61m 59s
2 Colin Gemmell/Peter McCallum (Ford Escort Mk2) +01m 07s
3 Greg Inglis/Colin Harkness (Lotus Exige) +01m 40s
4 Alan Gardiner/David Robson (Ford Escort Mk1) +02m 33s
5 Richard Sutherland/Jack Sutherland (Opel Manta) +02m 43s
6 Andy Horne/Alison Horne (Darrian T90) +02m 45s
7 Kyle Adam/Fiona Moir (Ford Escort Mk2) +03m 47s
8 Alan Wallace/Darren Robertson (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6) +03m 55s
9 Des Campbell/Craig Forsyth (Peugeot 206) +04m 03s
10 Michael Robertson/Murray Milne (Honda Civic Type R) +04m 20s

Class Winners
Stephen Bethwaite /Ann Forster (Vauxhall Nova Sport)

Junior 1000 Results
1 Cameron Davidson/Ian McRae (Volkswagen Up!) 65m 32s
2 Jack Hall/Robin Nicolson (Toyota Yaris) +02m 20s
3 Justin Gunning/Stuart McBride (Škoda Citigo) +02m 42s
4 Letisha Conn/Ian Crosbie (Peugeot 107) +03m 16s
5 Thomas Johnstone/Ian Shiells (Nissan Micra) +04m 21s
6 Aaron Webster/Neil Jeffrey (Nissan Micra) +07m 50s