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Once more, 13 J1000 Ecosse crews lined up to take the start of the Kingdom Stages Junior Rally, the 5 stage event offering the chance for the driver’s title to be decided in very wet conditions.

Sam Pattison was the driver who could wrap up the championship, the Citigo pilot just needing a 5th place finish to take the title. Naturally Sam & co-driver Paul Whittaker would respond by being fastest on every stage. Taking the rally win by 51 seconds and thus guaranteeing Sam the championship after a stellar run of 6 wins out of 6 starts in 2022.

Kalum Graffin & Richard Crozier spent the entire event shadowing the red Skoda and making sure that Sam & Paul couldn’t fully relax. The grey & green car ended the event looking a little 2nd hand after an argument with a tyre and a big trip across the grass late in the day.

The battle for 3rd was one of the highlights of the day.

Rian Walker & Stuart McBride are known for being very quick in the wet, particularly at Crail, Rian’s home event. 3rd early on they were battling with the VW Up! of Jack Ryan & Robin Nicolson.

Jack & Robin were speeding up after their traditional steady start and the 2 cars entered the final loop separated by just 3 seconds.

Unfortunately for Rian & Stuart luck wasn’t with them once again. Caught badly behind other competitors on each of the last 2 stages the Citigo dropped time to the VW to finish 18 seconds away from the podium.

For Jack & Robin it was another excellent charge from behind, Robin reckoning no driver could have got more out of the car than Jack managed on the 2nd half of the day.

Oliver Phillips had Barry Young in the hotseat for this round. It was another solid, clean run for Oliver, finishing just 30 seconds down on the podium battle. This result leaves Oliver just 8 points up on Graffin in the battle for the top Novice driver in the championship with just 1 round remaining.

Behind the Up there was another titanic battle taking place.

Evan Findlay had another new co-driver in the form of Graeme Meins. The 107 pilot had cured the car’s natural understeer issues by arriving at most tighter sections fully sideways, recovering the car from some fantastic angles during the day.

They were battling with top Micra crew Thomas Milne & Neil Jeffrey. The Micra went backwards twice at the beginning of the day but after that was swapping times with the 107 all the way to the finish.

At the end of the day Evan & Graeme would take 6th by just 7 seconds from Thomas & Neil after a great day long battle.

2nd Micra, Ollie Forrester was learning another new venue with regular co-driver George Myatt alongside. Another car to enjoy some big sideways moments during the day, Ollie learned a lot about the car in wet conditions and impressed George once again on the way to 8th at the finish.

Around a minute back Ruan Lowry & Ian McRae suffered a frustrating setback in the morning with a big spin on stage 1. The Yaris took some time to fire back up and regain the correct direction. After that they adopted a steady approach, taking 9th at the end of the day.

Lucy Cree & Chloe Fleming were next up. Lucy looking the most confident she has all season at Crail with a noticeable improvement in her driving. The biggest delay was a long trip across one of the fields in the afternoon but there were a lot of positives to take away from Lucy’s driving this time out.

Fraser Mack & Edward Runciman were under strict orders to keep the car in one piece with the final round of the championship being so soon after Crail and given the very wet conditions. Despite the back end of the car looking a bit nervous at points they did exactly what they needed to do, taking 11th.

Alfie Letham was another driver learning a new venue and adapting to a new co-driver with Alan Edwards alongside for the 1st time. They were another crew to be backwards in the morning, but Alan was very impressed with Alfie’s progress during the rest of the day.

Aaron Dickson & Iain Robson rounded out the finishers this time out. On only his 2nd event Aaron had a lot to learn, both about the new venue and dealing with wet conditions for the 1st time. A big overshoot into the tyres delayed things in stage 1 but didn’t do any major damage. All good experience for Aaron as he learns the rallying game.

1 round remains and although the top spot in the championship has been decided the battles for the other 2 podium positions and the novice award are still up for grabs. It’s all going to be decided over 2 days at Anglesey race circuit in Wales on the 19th & 20th of November.

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