The second round of the Ecosse C2 Challenge saw us heading North to Elgin for the McDonald & Munro Speyside Stages. The event contained 10 Special Stages with a total of
44 miles, 2 stages through Elgin's Cooper Park and 8 stages in local forestry.
The Ecosse Challenge is a standalone rally championship which continues the work started
by Colin McRae. The selected car for the Challenge, is the Citroen C2VTS which provides a
level playing field for all competitors.
The first 2 stages saw a quick blast around Cooper Park the only tarmac section of the rally,
times proved to be competitive through these short stages, we then headed out of the town
into the local forests.
Stages 3 and 4 proved to be very slippy in bits with some long fast sections that quickly took
us through the first 11 stage miles. Happy with our efforts, we headed to first service
located in Huntly, where the times showed us to be lying second, 7 seconds behind the
leading Challenge C2.
Heading for stages 5, 6 and 7 with the plan to increase our efforts to close the gap between
us and the leading crew, a clean run through stage 5 saw us drop time to the leaders. A decision was made to push harder through stage 6, where unfortunately we punctured a front tyre, around the mid-point, but continued to the end of the stage to limit time loss. A quick roadside tyre change saw us head on to stage 7 the longest of the rally at just under 9 miles. We suffered some intercom issues through this stage, but the times showed we managed to gain 16 seconds on the Challenge leader.
Back to Huntly for the final service. A quick look at the time sheets showed that we still had
9 seconds to gain on the leading C2.
We had a good run through the last 3 stages with no major issues. On the road section back
to the finish we discovered that the leading Challenge crew had picked up 5 minutes of time
penalties whilst dealing with an issue in service. This handed us our first Challenge win.
We would like to thank our team and sponsors for all their help in making this possible. Now
looking forward to the Scottish Rally on the 20th of May.
Pic © 2017 Frank Love