David Bogie and co-driver Kevin Rae sealed their third straight MSA Scottish Rally Championship with a fourth consecutive victory on the Gleaner Oil and Gas Speyside Stages. The winning partnership finished more than half a minute ahead of the rest to cap a notable 2011 championship campaign with two rounds remaining.
Behind them, Euan Thorburn and Mike Faulkner slugged it out in a gripping fight for the remaining podium places.
They shared equal times on three of the eight Morayshire stages, but it was Thorburn, co-driven by Paul Beaton, who emerged as runner-up after Faulkner overshot on the final test.
After the ultra-fast gravel stages of the WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland last weekend, Craig Breen returned home to the tarmac and a Class 6 win and sixth overall in the Sepam Stonethrowers Rally.
Using his Keltech Ford Fiesta R2, the Irish driver battled with Robert Barrable over the nine-stage event and was happy with his day’s work as he prepares fo Round Four of the FIA WRC Academy, the WRC Rally Deutschland in two weeks time.
“I was satisfied with my result,” said Breen. “We set a good pace, but the event was dominated by the weather. Tyre choice was hard as heavy showers prevailed all through the day and grip was at a minimum, but to claim sixth overall and the Class win was just the preparation I needed as I head into the very important event in Germany.”
The opening loop was tackled in dry conditions, and Breen’s initial Class battle was with local driver Andrew Fanning (Ford Puma), who set a time of 08min 03sec with Breen 01sec away and Barrable a further second off Breen’s third. In the rally overall, the top three in Class 6 were positioned in seventh, ninth and tenth respectively. On SS2 the battle intensified as all three were tied on time. Barrable was the one to benefit with his tyre selection and pulled out a narrow 04sec lead.
As the cars were in service after the opening loop, the rain that was threatening arrived and for the remainder of the event tyre choice proved a lottery.
Over the second loop Breen dropped to tenth overall on SS4, but on SS5 he was back up to seventh, all the while remaining second in Class. He then held station on SS6 and reported to be happy in service with only the final loop to contend.
On that final loop, the Keltech-backed car gained another overall place on SS6 to take sixth place overall. Breen then brought the front-wheel drive Fiesta home over the final two stages to secure the overall position. Breen was delighted with the result and his next event will be round four of the FIA WRC Academy in Germany on 19 – 20 August, just under two weeks from now.
Heavy rains in the Western Cape coastal region have resulted in some forced changes to the gravel road special stages of this month’s Garden Route Rally, round six of the South African Rally Championship, which takes place in the George and Knysna areas on August 26 and 27.
Route director and assistant clerk of the course Joe Fourie has had to find new access and stage roads to replace some of those originally planned for the two-day event as a result of the wet weather conditions.