Motorsport: The Merrick, Mull Rally and the Rally of Scotland

Rally of Scotland

Argyll rally driver Shaun Sinclair of Connel and his co driver Chris Hamill from Kilmore won Group N of the Merrick Rally – the latest round of the Scottish Championship.

Sinclair, in a Mitsubishi Evo 9, finished in 6th place overall after the 45 miles of SW Border stages. Those included the classic 19 miler – Glentrool , where they fought off competition from two other similar Lancers to win their class by I minute 18 seconds.

Oban Team of Steven and Kevin Lockhart finished a creditable 16th and both teams now look forward to the Colin McRae Forest rally in Perth on the 25th of the month, the final event of the Scottish series.

The first Mull Rally

Next month is a busy affair with the first Mull Rally to be run by the Mull car club, on the 8th, 9th and 10th October, based in the island capital, Tobermory.

The Mull Rally has already got over 120 entries including three generations of the O’Donnell rallying clan.

Grandpa Eddie will partner his son, also Eddie while his son Stephen will have John Fitness alongside in the venerable Ford Escort RS cars each will campaign.

Previous Tour of Mull rally winners, Calum Duffy, Neil MacKinnon, James McGillivray and Paul MacKinnon, all from the Island, will face stiff competition from Oban’s Will Bonniwell and Connel’s Shaun Sinclair – both of whom have has top 6 finishes in the last few years, the former, Bonniwell finished a magnificent 3rd two years ago. 2002 winner Daniel Harper in the BMW Mini leads the challenge from south of the border.

The Mull Rally has already got over 120 entries including three generations of the O’Donnell rallying clan.

Grandpa Eddie will partner his son, also Eddie while his son Stephen will have John Fitness alongside in the venerable Ford Escort RS cars each will campaign.

Previous Tour of Mull rally winners, Calum Duffy, Neil MacKinnon, James McGillivray and Paul MacKinnon, all from the Island, will face stiff competition from Oban’s Will Bonniwell and Connel’s Shaun Sinclair – both of whom have has top 6 finishes in the last few years, the former, Bonniwell finished a magnificent 3rd two years ago. 2002 winner Daniel Harper in the BMW Mini leads the challenge from south of the border.

There is no charge to enter the stages on the Isle of Mull and enjoy the rally cars in full flight.

The IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge) Rally of Scotland

Rally of ScotlandMull is followed a week later by the second IRC Rally of Scotland, opening on Friday 15th October at Scone Palace and spending the weekend in the shires of Stirling and Perth.

The rally, from 15th–17th of October, will be led away by last year’s winner Guy Wilks in his Skoda Fabia while the man that crossed the line first, Kris Meeke, the reigning World champion, will want to avenge his disappointment in being excluded for a technical infringement last year.

Wilks says: ‘Last year’s Rally of Scotland was my first event in a Skoda Fabia S2000, so winning was a very special moment in my career.

‘The stages in Perthshire and Stirling are fantastic. Each one is a real challenge – very fast in places, a lot of surface and camber changes, blind crests, steep dips and beautiful scenery.

It’s a rally which rewards the brave. It’s absolutely flat-out in places and if you are totally committed you can push very hard.

‘It might only be the second year of the Rally of Scotland, but it has quickly established itself as a favourite in my rally calendar.

Scone Palace is a wonderful location to start the rally and it’s a great stage for spectators. All the forest stages are fantastic too. You wouldn’t want for a nicer opening stage than Craigvinean, as it’s really fast and flowing, Drummond Hill is a legendary stage, Errochty is open and very fast, Achray is incredibly picturesque and Loch Ard is a real sting in the tail’.

Top Scot, Alister MacRae will again campaign his Mellorsport Proton Satria Neo S2000 – the model he has been campaigning on the Asia Championship this year.

On the Rally of Scotland you will need tickets to view much of the event but the organisers have just announced that children’s tickets are free of charge. ‘By offering children the chance to enjoy the experience for free should attract more people to attend and help grow the event from the success of the inaugural edition in 2009′, says Paul Bush of Events Scotland.

IRC Tickets can be booked via the official Rally of Scotland website or the hotline 0844 847 2488

So there is plenty to look forward to over the next month in the forests of Perth and Stirlingshire and on the single track high speed roads of Mull. Keep in touch with For Argyll for rally previews and results.

Campbell Cameron: Motorsport Editor:

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2 Responses to Motorsport: The Merrick, Mull Rally and the Rally of Scotland

  1. Pingback: Mull Rally coming this October

  2. Argyll driver Shaun Sinclair and Neil Shanks in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX appears to have retired from the Rally of Scotland after special stage 3 due to what is listed as mechanical problems. I’m Awaiting further information from the team as I am here in Benderloch and not basking in the sunshine of Perth and Stirling-shire.

    Reigning IRC Champion Kris Meeke after leading the rally at stage 4 has now dropped to 4th after 8 stages – loosing his brakes on his Peugeot 207 in one stage and completing the final “Day two” Stage 8 with just front brakes.

    Sinclair is in good company with Guy Wilkes – Skoda, (last years Rally Of Scotland winner) Alistair McRae, Proton and Keith Cronin Proton, the new British Champion, all out of the event with various challenges. Plenty stories at the bar tonight then!

    Hänninen Juho / Markkula Mikko in a Škoda Fabia S2000 lead the event overnight back in Perth.
    With just four stages tomorrow before the prizes at Stirling castle its still all to play for!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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