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Welshman Elfyn Evans took a start-to-finish victory at this weekend’s (25th June) RSAC Scottish Rally, winning the Dumfries based event by almost a minute from fellow countryman Tom Cave. Picking up a lead of eight seconds in the first stage of day, Evans and co-driver Craig Parry were never headed and after seven tough stages in the Eskdalemuir and Ae forests, took six stage wins in his DMACK Tyres Ford Fiesta R5 to become the new leader of the MSA British Rally Championship.

One of the biggest entries in the event’s 71 year history left the Dumfries town centre start early on Saturday morning with contenders from the MSA British Rally Championship, ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, HRCR Motoscope Northern Historic Rally Championship, Ecosse Challenge, The Border Challenge and Five of Clubs Rally Championship making up the field of 120 crews.

It would be the number one seed Evans who would take early blood over the first loop of two stages in Castle O`er with local favourite David Bogie (Dumfries) 13 seconds shy of Evans in his new-liveried Skoda Fabia R5 as they came back into the first service of the day. BRC leaders Fredrik Ahlin and Morten Erik Abrahamsen from Norway were third in their Ford Fiesta R5 but disappeared off the leader board a few stages later with propshaft failure, leaving Cave to take up the final podium spot at the halfway point of the day.

Scot16 David Bogie and Kevin RaeThe early morning dust in the Dumfries and Galloway forests soon became mud as heavy showers glanced over the hills. Conditions became tricky in the afternoon with changing grip levels the talking point of the day, but Evans remained in command and entering service ahead of the final loop stages, had over 40 seconds in hand over Bogie.  With Cave in a comfortable third, crews entered the final test of the day with the plan to remain as they started the stage – and that worked, for some.

Whilst Bogie admitted Evans was out of sight on the leader board, a runner up spot would do his championship chances the world of good but drama was to hit the Skoda pilot. His Fabia sustained significant radiator damage on the final stage and despite making it out of the forests, couldn’t complete the road section back to the Dumfries finish and had no choice but to park up at the side of the road.

Evans held it together through final the 10 mile Mount Joe test to win his first Scottish Rally and take maximum BRC points to boot. Cave was delighted to have inherited second after a fraught season but it was Irishman Desi Henry who benefited most from Bogie’s misfortune with a scintillating run of form to take the final podium spot in third.  Duns resident Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton (Inverness) found some reliability in their unique Peugeot 208 R5 to take fourth. Castle Douglas co-driver Kirsty Riddick guided Belfast’s Jonny Greer to fifth in their Citroen DS3 R5.

The Scottish Rally would provide a unique battlefield for the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship contenders as the increased mileage on the event would see an almost level playing field with the BRC runners. Despite no pre-event recce for the SRC crews, it wasn’t long before they stamped their mark on the leader board and had their own dramatic tale to tell.

Scot16 Garry Pearson and Robbie Mitchell - 1stSRCMike Faulker and Peter Foy opened the score with an impressive 6th fastest overall in their Mitsubishi E9 and took a four second lead over Castle Douglas star Jock Armstrong with co-driver Paula Swinscoe.  It was stage two before championship leader Garry Pearson and Robbie Mitchell appeared near the top of the time sheets thanks to an opening stage spin, costing the Fiesta R5 pilot 20 seconds. By stage four, Pearson had gained control of the event and led the SRC contingent by 10 seconds which would never be bettered, taking his second championship win in as many rounds and extending his championship lead further still.

Behind the Duns driver, there was an epic battle developing between Faulkner and Armstrong who were swapping seconds all afternoon long in the slippery forests. But Armstrong held his nerve while Faulkner “overdrove” the Mitsubishi, suffering from a time zapping spin on stage six and putting him out of contention for second, despite managing to claw some time back on the final test, it wasn’t enough and Armstrong took the runner up spot in his Subaru Impreza. Mark McCulloch (Dumfries) and Michael Hendry had an impressive run to fourth SRC crew in their Mitsubishi E9 with Rory Young and Dave Robson battled with a 20 second time penalty to take fifth in their Ford Fiesta.

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Images courtesy of Crayford Media & Jakob Ebrey Photography

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