… Summer Stages Rally, Sat 11 June …
Here’s a thought for victory on this year’s Beatson’s Building Supplies Mull Rally. Jonathan Mounsey. He was in imperious form on the Summer Stages Rally at Crail. With Richard Wardle in the hot seat, Mounsey finished the 8 stage/76 mile event 43 seconds clear of John Rintoul and Ross Hynd. Completing the podium line-up were Greg Inglis and Chris Lees, their 2WD machine mixing it with the top six 4WD opposition.
Crail was looking good in the Summer sunshine (interspersed with grey skies and occasional short showers – and strong gusts of wind off the North Sea which nearly upended some folk!) with some of the ground having been cleared and the grass verges recently mowed. A fitting setting for the fierce on-stage battles which ensued.
Not having been here before Mounsey had a good look round the layout on the first two ‘shorter’ stages before letting it rip on the on the longer 3 & 4. Rintoul’s MINI WRC was fastest over the two openers by six and two seconds before Mounsey snatched all of those eight seconds back on SS3 in his Fiesta Rally2 and then went a massive 16 seconds quicker on SS4,leaving Rintoul shaking his head.
Admittedly, Rintoul was having a wee bit of an issue with a misfire and changed all four potentiometers at lunch time service, but even so he was surprised at Mounsey’s pace.
Also raising eyebrows was young Greg Inglis in the Lotus Exige which was 3rd quickest on the first stage but dropped around ten seconds on SS2: “I lost the tail on the approach to one bend, thought I caught it, but it went the other way and just clipped a tyre marker with the front corner. On the next straight the whole clamshell front end whipped up and disappeared over the roof – scary!”
Mounsey’s onslaught continued after lunch, with himself and Rintoul the only two drivers under 12 minutes on SS5. Mounsey was quickest again over 6 & 7 before easing off on the final stage to ensure victory from Rintoul with Inglis hanging on to the 4WD machinery coat-tails like the very Devil chasing Tam O’Shanter’s horse.
John Marshall and Craig Wallace were 4th in the Fiesta Rally2but Joe McKeand and Nikki Addison were giving him a hard time in the Subaru Impreza. They spent the day taking turn about to be quicker than each other with the final margin being just seven seconds in Marshall’s favour.
Ian and Allan Paterson completed the top six in their Subaru with brother Stuart Paterson and daughter Alice finishing eighth. Sandwiched between the two Imprezas was the Escort Mk2 of tyre-smoking Gerry Fitzelle and Eric Winning.
In ninth place overall and third 2WD car was the Peugeot 206 of Demonic Des Campbell and Craig Forsyth and the gap to eighth might have been closer but for a broken front spring. Completing the top ten was the Escort Mk2 of Andrew Plunkett and James Burns but they were the lucky ones. Of the 53 starters, only 35 reached the finish.
Amongst the non-finishers were John Stone and Laura Connell. The Polo Gti R5 broke its alternator belt on SS4 and the spare didn’t last long in SS5 so they were out. Colin Gemmell and Keith Fair didn’t even get that far, the VW Golf R7 suffered alternator failure on the very first stage and only just managed to complete the test, but going no further. Drew Gallagher and Jane Nicol were another early retirement when the Skoda Fabia’s manifold split on the first stage. That in itself wasn’t a big issue, but the leaking hot gases were damaging the timing case so they were faced with no option but to retire.
There was no doubt about the winners though. Tenth time out in the Fiesta Jonathan Mounsey was looking mighty impressive as he scored his first ever rally victory: “In fact it’s only my third podium finish,” he said, but what gave him most satisfaction was, “hearing Richard swear on the fifth gear corners!”
Of course, Crail is nothing like Mull, but remember, he was pretty quick on the recent Jim Clark and Reivers rallies and his best result on Mull – so far – is 4th!
Andrew Blackwood and Richard Stewart finished inside the top 20 overall in their class winning Ford Fiesta 1400 with the Mini 1293 of Kenny Watt and Fraser McCurdie taking second. Steven Crockett and Kenny Anderson might have made more of a of it but for a broken driveshaft on SS2 in their Peugeot 205 and Tom Johnstone and Mark Runciman were going impressively well in the one litre Skoda Citigo until a most unfortunate and unlikely failure. During routine maintenance at the lunch halt the front brakes were stripped for checking but when re-fitting the calipers, the retaining bolts cross-threaded the hub stripping the thread. Snookered. Game over. It was an early finish too for James and Ian Wilson when the MG’s engine failed in mid-stage three.
Campbell and Forsyth took Class 2 honours from the Citroen C2 of Jamie Miller and Ian McCulloch with Ian McEwan and Ewan Lees third in the Vauxhall Tigra. This was McEwan’s first time in a rally car for 33 years! Colin and Pauline Black were fourth on the BMW MINI ahead of Drew Barker and Shona Hale but fears were expressed regarding Barker’s health when brand new tyres were spotted on the Corsa half way through the rally! Matt and Bryan Reid were sixth first time out in their recently acquired Citroen C2 ahead of the VW Polonda of Gordon Milne and Duncan Smith which was experiencing throttle control difficulties. Beefy Fraser and Jack Sutherland complete the finishers’ lineup in the Hillman Avenger but once again, retirements affected potential outcomes. Steven Hay and Cameron Dunn were quickest on the opening stage in the Corsa but damaged the oil cooler in SS2. Kenny Moore and Fiona Moir retired their Avenger with a dead number one cylinder. Moore was really puzzled: “It’s got compression but it won’t pull. We changed the spark plug but no difference.” Joe Pringle and David Dalgleish also didn’t make the finish when the Corsa’s gearbox failed.
Plunkett and Burns were Class winners ahead of Alan Scott and Shaina Archibald in the Renault Clio which finished the rally with a hastily repaired broken engine mounting. Bill and Sara Hamilton were third in the Opel Kadett ahead of the Honda Civic of Ian Cruden and Douglas MacIntyre. Oliver Hunter and Matt Daniels were leading the class in their Escort Mk2 until SS4 when they got a tyre marker wedged under the sump guard and lost seven minutes as they completed the stage on four wheels and five tyres! Colin Irving and Emma Muir completed the top six in their Talbot Sunbeam ahead of the crisp sounding Ford Focus of Marc McCubbin and Formula Jnr 1000 driver turned co-driver for the day, Rian Walker. Richard and Megan Sutherland were initially leading the class after two stages in the Opel Manta before incurring maximums on SS3 and 4. Graeme and John Rintoul retired the Fiesta with a broken driveshaft (and the spare was at home!) while Jonathan MacDonald and Chris Wareham retired the Peugeot 306 with a gearbox or clutch problem. Willie Bonniwell’s sideway’s to victory approach was curtailed when he and Angus Kennedy retired the minted looking Mk1 Escort when the diff had a difference of opinion about Bonniwell’s driving style. Oliver Hunter and Owen Paterson retired the Honda Civic with a broken gear linkage.
Inglis and Lees were the Class 4 winners from with Fitzelle and Winning, with the BMW 130i of Ben MacDowall and Alison Horne third. Darren Nugent and Peter Johnson were in the hunt for a podium finish but got it all wrong on the penultimate test when the Escort clipped a tyre at a chicane, rode up on two wheels and rolled right over landing back on its wheels but looking rather sorry for itself.
In the big class, it was Mounsey and Wardle all the way from Rintoul/Hynd and Marshall/Wallace.
1 Jonathan Mounsey/Richard Wardle (Ford Fiesta Rally2) 80m 47s
2 John Rintoul/Ross Hynd (MINI Countryman JCW WRC) +43s
3 Greg Inglis/Chris Lees (Lotus Exige) +1m 31s
4 John Marshall/Craig Wallace (Ford Fiesta Rallye2) +2m 21s
5 Joe McKeand/Nikki Addison (Subaru Impreza) +2m 28s
6 Ian Paterson/Allan Paterson (Subaru Impreza) +4m 01s
7 Gerry Fitzelle/Erica Winning (Ford Escort Mk2) +4m 52s
8 Stuart Paterson/Alice Paterson (Subaru Impreza) +5m 36s
9 Des Campbell/Craig Forsyth (Peugeot 206) +7m 04s
10 Andrew Plunkett/James Burns (Ford Escort Mk2) +8m 00s
C1, Andrew Blackwood/Richard Stewart (Ford Fiesta)
C2, Des Campbell/Craig Forsyth (Peugeot 206)
C3, Andrew Plunkett/James Burns (Ford Escort Mk2)
C4, Gerry Fitzelle/Erica Winning (Ford Escort Mk2)
C5, John Marshall/Craig Wallace (Ford Fiesta Rallye2)