Aug 10 2012 Dumfries Standard Friday
LAST YEAR'S winner David Hardie and 2010 victor Ian Paterson will again lock horns on Sunday's usedcarparts.co.uk Solway Coast Rally which returns to the military range at Dundrennan.
The popular event organised by Solway Car Club and a counter in the Five of Clubs and Scottish Tarmack Rally championships has attracted a strong entry of nearly forty crews. They will tackle forty-two competitive miles spread over eight stages.
There will also be a Solway Coast Junior Rally which counts as the penultimate round of the Brick and Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge and will comprise thirty-two miles over six stages.
An added attraction this year will be the appearance of reigning Scottish and British rally champion David Bogie who will drive his family's MG Metro 6R4 as course car ahead of the field.
“I don't use the Metro very often, especially near home, so, even though we won't be competing, it's a great chance to get the car out and let my friends and family see what it's capable of,” said Bogie.
In the senior rally, the Subaru Impreza is the car of choice for seven of the ten leading crews.
Hardie, co-driven by Bruce Harper, will be followed off the start line by Fife-based duo Ross Fernie and John Young who currently hold a slender lead in the STRC.
Meanwhile, Paterson, seeded third with navigator Jim Haugh, will be out to make amends for failing to finish last year when his car went off the road and struck a sign.
Stranraer's Jim Sharp took the final podium spot in 2011 and will be pushing to go even better this time around while New Abbey's Richard Dickson and Collin-based drivers Lee Hastings and Stuart Paterson will also be targeting strong finishes.
Among the two-wheel drive entries Iain Haining from Locharbriggs and Haugh of Urr co-driver Mairi Riddick will be looking to go one better than last year and take top honours in Class 2 in their Vauxhall Nova. The pair will be competing for the second weekend running after taking a second in class on the Gleaner Oil and Gas Speyside Stages in Elgin.
Father and son Jim and Jamie McDowall will be jostling for family bragging rights as they take to the stages in a Hillman Avenger and Ford Focus RS respectively and Scott Peacock from Bridge of Dee is entered in his Peugeot 205 Gti following a tough but successful run on the Speyside Stages.
In the Junior Rally fourteen young competitors under the age of 17 will be partnered with experienced drivers and co-drivers as they continue to hone their skills in their 1000cc cars, the majority of them Nissan Micra's.
Top seed for the event is Northumberland's Alexander Vassallo in a Citreon C1 while there will be home support for Harry Marchbank in his Micra. The Thornhill teenager will be co-driven by former Scottish Junior champion and last year's Solway Coast runner-up Mark McCulloch.
The event gets underway at 9am on Sunday and spectator information, along with a full seeded entry list, can be found at www.solwaycarclub.co.uk.
usedcarparts.co.uk Solway Coast Rally Top Ten Seeds: 1 David Hardie (Kirkgunzeon), Bruce Harper (Dumfries) Subaru Impreza; 2 Ross Fernie (Glenrothes), John Young (Burntisland) Subaru Impreza; 3 Ian Paterson (Mouswald), Jim Haugh (Sandhead) Subaru Impreza; 4 Stuart Walker (Torphichen), tba Mitsubishi EVO 9; 5 Jim Sharp (Stranraer), Amy McKinnon (Alloa) Subaru Impreza; 6 Richard Dickson (New Abbey), Nancy Dickson (New Abbey) Subaru Impreza; 7 Chris McCallum (Ayr), Peter McCallum (Ayr) Ford Escort Mk2; 8 Lee Hastings (Collin), Mark Robertson (Torthorwald) Subaru Impreza; 9 Steve Retchless (Romanby), Iain Tullie (Cockermouth) Ford Escort Mk2; 10 Stuart Paterson (Collin), Colin Maxwell (Kirkmahoe) Subaru Impreza.