Skip navigation

Northern Irish duo Alastair Fisher and Gordon Noble took victory on round three of the MSA British Rally Championship, the RSAC Scottish Rally, a first win for the 23 year old after his debut in the series on the Jim Clark rally in 2008.

The DGM Sport crew’s win is particularly special for Fisher, having come so close on several occasions in recent years. But he didn’t have it all his way from the start, swapping stage times with Morris Lubricants DMS crew Tom Cave/Ieuan Thomas from the outset.

In fact it was Cave who was fastest out of the box, stopping the clocks 2.3 seconds ahead of Fisher on the opening stage, Windy Hill. Fisher responded in his identical Citroën DS3 R3T and took a 0.8 second advantage, crews reporting that the regarded stages were very loose.

Meanwhile, championship leaders Jukka Korhonen and Marko Salminen struggled to find a rhythm, losing out to the front pair to the tune of fourteen seconds after the excellent spectator stage at Heathhall.

While the Finn scratched his head at the pace of the leaders, they added another statistic to the recent BRC close finishes, on exactly the same tenth of a second as they headed to the first service of the day.

Cave then snuck ahead by a tenth after the second run through Windy Hill, Fisher stating that he felt confident and coming back to eke the biggest gap of the day. The 4.5 second ‘buffer’ seemed enough to break Cave’s charge, slipping back over the next several stage to eventually fall into the improving Finn’s clutches.

With stage eight cancelled after an incident in the NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge, there weren’t enough stages for Cave to mount a comeback, leaving Fisher first and Korhonen second.

Fishers win leap frogs the amiable Tyrone man to second in the MSA British Rally Championship, closing the gap to leader Korhonen to five points at the season’s halfway mark.

Fisher said at the finish in Dumfries, “It has been a long time coming, but I’m delighted to be on the top step of the podium at last. We should have won several times in the past although it isn’t the first outright win for me and Gordy (Noble), We have won an event at home before. We’ll look at the championship carefully now, as there is a clash with our home event and Rally Deutschland WRC3.”

Culina Palletforce crew John MacCrone and Phil Pugh had just what was needed, a solid finish in fourth having overhauled reigning Pirelli Star Driver Mark Donnelly. But Fisher’s DGM Sport team-mate Donnelly and co-driver Dai Roberts also fell into the clutches of Jonny Greer and Jonny Hart who improved as the day’s stages unfolded.

Thanks to Fisher’s top points, DGM Sport now takes a clear two point lead in the BRC Teams Cup ahead of Morris Lubricants DMS, with three third places leaving Culina Palletforce Racing needing good results to catch up.

BRC RallyTwo honours went to Daniel McKenna and Arthur Kierans after the Irishmen held their nerve in the face of stiff opposition. Early leader Steve Røkland and James Aldridge had a gearbox mounting problem and ended the event fourth R2, the offending item replaced by a ratchet strap.

McKenna had problems of his own en route to his second win, first bending a rear axle, then struggling with errant power steering on his Fiesta R2. But buoyant to the last, he smiled as the opposition waned.

Scots Ruary Macleod and Drew Sturrock were rewarded with second place after Jon Armstrong also hit trouble with a puncture early on, Røkland’s rally was spoiled, Garry Pearson holed his sump and Alex Parpottas exited the event with a roll on stage two.

It was a good day in the office for Macleod, who not only stayed out of trouble, but impressed on the way, securing the third Pirelli Star Driver nomination to add to those of Røkland and McKenna on rounds one and two respectively.

As the only manufacturer registered for points, it is a foregone conclusion that Citroën UK extend the lead in the MSA British Manufacturers Rally Championship and will certainly retain the 2012 title. But the Citroën Racing Trophy UK points follow those of the main championship, Korhonen ahead of Fisher and Cave. The Fiesta SportTrophy has a new leader in the form of McKenna who overhauls Røkland with a lead of three points with Jon Armstrong leap-frogging Parpottas for third.

The MSA British Junior Rally Championship also has a new leader. Ben Mckay’s victory over a Harry Threlfall puts him and co-driving dad Jason two points clear, Threlfall’s puncture robbing us of a ding-dong battle. The Twingo Renaultsport R1 Trophy UK mirrors these results too, the first time both crews have avoided serious trouble to make the finish.

Jon Armstrong may have had problems, but he still extends his lead in the RAVENOL Oils Newcomers Trophy, Irishman David Carney maintaining second despite crashing out of the event on stage two. He shares that second place with Ben Mckay however, both drivers on 32 points apiece.

Returning after a sabbatical on the Jim Clark Rally was Timmy Cathcart, the trip from Northern Ireland made worthwhile by winning the Mantis Best Presented Car Award, trophy and cheque for £250 – his Fiesta R2 deemed the best turned out by scrutineers at the start of the event.

Results from the RSAC Scottish Rally and up to date MSA British Rally Championship tables after round three are on the website. The next round, Todds Leap Rally NI takes place on 23rd/24th August based in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland.

Photos from the event will be uploaded soon to the Photos & Videos page of the BRC website, or can be seen on Jakob Ebrey Motorsport Photography’s website at http://www.jakobebrey.com

Catch all the action from the BRC’s RSAC Scottish Rally front-runners on Sky Sports 3 & 3HD on Monday 8th July at 21:00, repeated several times over the following day. If you can’t wait, watch out as short news edits from the overall, RallyTwo and NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge appear on http://www.rallybrc.co.uk homepage in the next week.

For more information on the MSA British Rally Championship visit http://www.rallybrc.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: