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Armstrong takes commanding home victory

Armstrong takes commanding home victory

Jock Armstrong and new co-driver Cameron Fair comfortably won the final round of the Scottish Rally Championship

Jock Armstrong and Cameron Fair took a convincing victory on the Armstrong Galloway Hills Rally this weekend (9th September), the final round of the 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship.

Despite finishing second overall by just three seconds, newly crowned champions Thorburn and Beaton elected not to score championship points in their Fiesta R5. This elevated Sinclair and Edwards to second SRC crew home in their Subaru Impreza S14 WRC.

Young and Cathers rounded off the top three SRC crews, and completed the podium in their Fiesta R5.

Despite some changeable weather leading up to the event, conditions were relatively dry for the final round of the Scottish Championship season. Local man Armstrong with new co-driver Fair alongside, was out of the box quickest in his Subaru Impreza, winning the opening three tests before service to open up a convincing lead.

Armstrong’s closest challengers were Sinclair and Faulkner who were involved in a scrap for second and third overall in the championship. However, both would fall back in the final test. Sinclair suffered a launch control failure and Faulkner, with co-driver Foy alongside left the road after an enforced temporary suspension fix failed. This left the 2015 and 2016 SRC Champion clear to take a record-breaking ninth win on the Galloway Hills Rally.

Sinclair and Edwards were desperate to win their first event of the year, but were happy with the progress they made.

“We were a lot closer to the pace than we’ve been the last three or four rallies, so we can be happy about that,” Sinclair said. “The stages were terrific, some of the best we’ve been on this year, very fast and flowing.

Young and Cathers were delighted to secure their first Scottish Championship podium in a different Fiesta R5 to the one they’ve used on three previous rounds this year. The Dumfries driver finished just 12 seconds behind Sinclair at the finish.

McCulloch and Hendry brought their Mitsubishi Evo IX home fifth overall and fourth in the SRC, staying in touch with the leaders all day to come home just nine seconds behind Young’s R5.

McCulloch suffered a slow start emerging the first test in ninth place, but set some sublime stage times to climb back up to fourth at the finish. That, coupled with his improving pace throughout the year was enough to see him rewarded the SRC John Horton Star Driver Award for the Galloway Hills Rally, putting him forward to the shootout later this month.

Bogie Kevin Rae were back out in the SRC but in their Millington powered Ford Escort Mk2 instead of the usual Skoda Fabia R5. The winner of three rounds this year came home sixth overall but elected not to score SRC points.

That meant Binnie and Mole bagged fifth SRC crew home at the finish, ahead of MacDonald/Falconer (Fiesta R5) in sixth and Wilson/Williams (Subaru Impreza) in seventh.

McCombie and stand-in co-driver Sean Donnelly took eighth in their Evo IX, with top two wheel drive runners MacDonald/Ross (Ford Escort Mk2) and Lawrie/Gribben (Vauxhall Corsa) who completed the top 10.

Binnie and Mole started the event looking to win the SRC Challengers title with their Evo IX, with Hay and Jaffray their biggest threat in an older Evo VI.

Binnie had the bit between his teeth and went a massive 24 seconds faster in SS1, before seeing the gap erode to 13 at first service. A good time in SS4 set the Borders crew up nicely, but in the end the pair needn’t have worried as in their effort to overhaul their rivals, Hay and Jaffray went off the road in the final stage.

The Scottish 2WD Championship was won by Duncan MacDonald and Neil Ross who took a superb top ten SRC finish and their third two wheel drive win in a row. Lawrie and Gribben had a good day despite axel rod issues in their Corsa, taking the Class 3 title and second in the two wheel drives ahead of Bannister’s Escort Mk2.

Dougal Brown and Lewis Rochford endured a difficult event in their Mk2, but did all they needed to do to claim the category championship.

Gina Walker finished as top Junior in her Citroen C2 but it wasn’t enough for her to take the title and the entry into the Wales Rally GB National that goes with it. That went the way of Max Redpath who steered his Peugeot 205 home in second on the Galloway, ahead of Andy Struthers’ Citroen C2.

The www.usedcarparts.co.uk Subaru Cup went down to the wire, with Baxter and Robertson fighting it out in a winner takes all battle aboard their GC8 Imprezas. McIlwraith took the Galloway win, but it was Baxter who took the championship, just over 30 seconds ahead of Robertson.

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship is partnered by Pirelli Motorsport, Coltel Communications and Reis Motorsport Insurance.

The championship consists of seven forest events across the whole of Scotland, taking in over 300 competitive stage miles.

Keep up to date with all the latest news via the website, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SRC17.