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Coltel David WestonAberdeenshire based Coltel Grampian Stages is the penultimate round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) calendar and will host some of the best rally drivers in the country as they fight it out in the forests of Kincardineshire this Saturday (13th August).  Almost 100 crews will head to the brand new event which is promoted by Stonehaven and District Motor Club this weekend and the rally will see an epic battle as many local favourites and championship contenders bid for the overall rally win.

The new-for-2016 event is based at the Milton of Crathes Art and Craft Village, some 15 miles west of Aberdeen on the A93 near Banchory. The event kicks off with pre event scrutiny and documentation on Friday 12th at the Milton of Crathes centre before the ceremonial start takes place under the gaze of the historical Crathes Castle on Saturday 13th at around 9am. Crews will then head into the forests to contest six stages, returning to the Milton of Crathes event field for a service halt twice during the day.  The Castle will then welcome the winners back to the ceremonial finish where the victors will spray the champagne at around 3pm that afternoon.

Leading the field away at the number one seed will be local hero and 2015 BTRDA National Gravel rally champion David Weston Jnr from Aberdeen with Welshman Aled Davies alongside in their Subaru Impreza WRC. As winners of last year’s Grampian Rally which took place in the region, they are tipped as favourites for the win. MSA British Rally Championship contenders Euan Thorburn (Duns) and Paul Beaton (Inverness) will start at two in their potent Peugeot 208 R5, keen to get some mileage in the car after a troublesome start to the year.

Coltel GarryPearson1Current SRC leaders Garry Pearson (Duns) and Robbie Mitchell (Duns) are third seed in their Fiesta R5. A win here on the Grampian will further extend their lead to rivals Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas) and Paula Swinscoe (Withnell) who start just behind at number four in their familiar orange Subaru Impreza.  Returning to the SRC in Aberdeen is John MacCrone (Tobermory) in a Fiesta R5 after electing to miss the Scottish Rally. Australian Rhianon Gelsomino will co-drive and the duo start at car 5.

Narrowing missing out on overall victory at several events this year, Mike Faulkner (Wigton) and Peter Foy (Bingley) head a gaggle of Mitsubishi’s at six, hoping to take their first SRC win of the season at the Grampian. Just behind him at seven, Mark McCulloch (Dumfries) and Michael Hendry (Archiestown) head to the event fresh from winning the Solway Coast rally last weekend. They are another crew looking for their first SRC event win of the year.

Local ace and event supporter Bruce McCombie (Banchory) and Michael Coutts (Torphins) are number eight seed in their McCombie Builders backed Mitsubishi E9 with Shaun Sinclair (Connell) bringing his Subaru Impreza S14 WRC to the event at car nine. Rounding off the top ten is another Mitsubishi E9 of Fred Milne (Banchory) and Chris Williams (Millom).

Not only will the event be the fifth round of the SRC,  but it will also be the will be the penultimate scoring round of the Ecosse Challenge, a dedicated one-make contest for the popular Citroen C2. Series leader David Martin (Belford) heads the runners away with Neil Ewing alongside whilst Alex Pirie (Drummuir) and Frazer Skene (Keith) are just behind and hoping to improve on their fifth place in the championship. Whilst the crews may be a little way down the field, the action is equally as assured as the frontrunners.

Spectators will be well catered for at the event and the organising team have worked hard to ensure there is ample opportunity to enjoy the action both on and off the stages. As well as the ceremonial start and finish at Crathes Castle, spectators can view the cars at close quarters at the Milton Events Field as they come into service twice during the day.  There will be a chance capture the action on four stages on the event with excellent vantage points.

Full spectator information and event entry list is available on the Grampian Stages website http://www.grampianstages.co.uk/spectator-info/where-to-watch

You can keep up to date with all the latest news on the event Facebook and Twitter feeds.
http://www.facebook.com/GrampianStages
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Images courtesy of Eddie Kelly Motorsport Photography and Frank Love – Race and Rally Photography

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