RALLYING: David Bogie and Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae powered to their third straight victory of 2012 in Saturday’s Coltel Granite City Rally, the third round of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship.
However, the event was overshadowed by a serious accident on the opening Durris stage when a group of spectators was struck by one of the two-wheel-drive cars running at the head of the field.
The stage was immediately cancelled and the following 4WD competitors were instructed to move on to the second stage, Fetteresso 1.
Triple Scottish champions Bogie and Rae threw down the gauntlet from the outset, blasting through the 7-miler in his Mitsubishi EVO 9, five seconds quicker than the Ford Focus WRC of Duns driver Euan Thorburn and Inverness co-driver Paul Beaton, who went on to finish the event as runners-up.
Bogie was three seconds quicker than Thorburn through SS3 Drumtochty, and on the penultimate nine-mile Glenfarquhar stage, had a two second advantage, taking his overall lead to ten seconds.
There was still all to play for going into the final 13-miles of Fetteresso 2 – but Thorburn’s challenge ended when he went off at a hairpin. He got his car re-started but finished the stage 23 seconds adrift of Bogie.
The champion had concerns of his own – wrong tyre-choice making cornering difficult on the loose gravel. However, Bogie and Rae had done more than enough to secure their third victory of the season, ending the day thirty-three seconds ahead of the Duns man.
Bogie was both satisfied, and relieved, with the result, having missed out on the 2011 Granite victory by just one second. He said: “We’re obviously very happy, but we were really struggling with the tyres. If Euan hadn’t had his own problems it could have been really close. He’s getting faster in the Focus, and it could shape up to be a battle royal as the season progresses.”
John McClory and David Hood finished seventh overall and second in their class with their Subaru Impreza N15 while Alford’s David Wilson, co-driven by the experienced Dave Robson from Jedburgh, finished 13th overall and first in their class with their Ford Escort Mk2.
Another class winner was West Linton’s John Boyd, co-driven by Chris Williamson. They finished 18th overall in their Ford Fiesta R2.
Ross McFadzean, co-driven by Jane Nicol from Duns, were 25th overall in their Subari Impreza, while Sean and Iain Robson from St Boswells were 37th overall and second in Class 7 in their Ford Fiesta ST – a repeat of their result on the Border Counties last month.
Leitholm driver Keiran Renton, co-driven by Tranent’s Paul McGuire were 47th and fourth in class in their Ford Fiesta.
Lauder driver Callum Atkinson, co-driven by Kevin Mathers, was 62nd overall in his Peugeot 205 GTi, with Adrian Stewart, co-driven by Richard Simmonds of Duns in 69th place and Scott Balgowan and Marieanne Gray from Duns 70th in similar cars.
Among those who retired from the event were Alford’s Keith Robathan and Duns co-driver Dave O’Brien. They were forced out after putting their Ford Escort Mk2 off the road on the second stage.
The fourth round of the MSA Scottish Rally Championship is the Jim Clark Reivers Rally in Duns on June 3.