PETE Hunter set the fastest times on the final two tests to win Saturday’s PJ Planthire and Groundworks Charterhall Stages Rally.
The St Boswells driver, co-driven by son Scott, powered his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 to clinch victory by 15 seconds ahead of the Subaru Impreza of Dom Buckley Jnr Jnr and his co-driver Doug Redpath from Duns.
Last year’s rally winners Gavin Ruler and David Everard finished third in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3.
The wet conditions made it difficult for drivers on the slippy tarmac surface but it was young Buckley who set the early pace with fastest time on the opening stage. Hunter was fastest on the second stage but Buckley hit back with fastest times on the next two to open up a 23 second lead.
However, on the penultimate test Buckley rolled his Impreza and although he managed to keep going he lost 23 seconds and it was all square going into the final stage.
Hunter pulled out all the stops to set fastest time, 15 seconds quicker than Buckley, and claimed the victory.
A delighted Pete said: “I just bought the car on Friday so it was the first time I had driven it in anger. I was well pleased with the win considering the steering wheel ended up on my lap on stage three and we lost a bit of time!
“I must congratulate the organisers because they had put in a lot of hard work in getting the stages to the best I have seen them. Thanks also go to my service crew for all their work.”
Jock Threadgall and John Straughan took their Metro 6R4 to seventh overall and a class win and they were also first rear-wheel drive car.
Coldstream’s Des Campbell and Alex Orr in a Peugeot 206 were top front-wheel drive car in eighth place and also won their class.
Hawick’s Ian Baumgart and Barry Hogg were ninth in their Subaru Impreza and Fred Davidson and Plug Pulleyn were 11th in a Mitsubishi Evo 6.
Things could have been so different for the Duns crew of Douglas Brydon and Davie O’Brien in their Subaru Impreza had it not been for a mishap on then opening stage. They overshot on a chicane and ended up on top of tyres. They had to stop to jack the car off of them losing three and a half minutes. However, for the rest of the event they were never out of the top four times and were second fastest on the final two stages. They eventually finished in 12th place.
Kev Dunn and Sarah Hunter won their class and finished 14th overall in a Vauxhall Nova while Michael Davidson and John Coates were 15th in their Peugeot 205 GTi.
Leitholm’s Keiran Renton and Paul McGuire from Tranent took their Ford Fiesta ST to 19th place overall and second in class while Mark Davidson and Sally Broadwith were 20th and second in class in their Vauxhall Nova.
Steven Dunn and Alison Woodcock were 23rd in their Subarun Impreza while Kelso’s Carin Logan and Berwick co-driver Christine Sanderson were 24th in their Citroen Saxo. Carin also won the award for top lady driver.
Doug Logan and Johnny Millar were 26th in their Ford Escort Mk2 while the father and daughter crew of Garry and Hollie Wilson from Duns were 27th and third in class in their Opel Manta, and George Knox and Keith Richardson were 29th and third in class in their Mini.
Among the retirals were Gareth White and Mike Dixon who broke driveshafts in their Citroen C2R and a gearbox problem ended the hopes of Tommy and Andrew Heard in their Subaru Impreza.
Scott and Adam Russel (Vauxhall Corsa) and Ian Heard and Alistair Maxwell (Ford Escort Mk2) also failed to finish the event.