Scottish rally run provided not only a good result, but proof of how the IRC is blooming
The RACMSA Rally of Scotland is one of my favourite events simply because of the stages, the location. I love the raw beauty and the challenge of it. Running alongside Loch Ard is unbelievable, and having the final prize-giving at Scone Palace (below) – the seat of the Scottish kings – is amazing. The Scottish Tourist Board has done a brilliant job of unlocking some of the stages that have been closed to rally cars for years. That makes it an event you really shouldn’t miss.
I’ve managed to compete on the rally twice now and this year’s event was affected by bad weather. There was a lot of rain, and we had a tremendous amount of fog and mist on the Saturday night which meant that the Drummond Hill stage was cancelled. But the challenge was still there, along with the fantastic scenery and organisation. We had to drive defensively. I had to learn the Fiesta R2, a powerful little beast with a sequential gearbox, listen to the authoritative voice of co-driver Gordon Noble, and on day three the suspension was literally collapsing around us. We got it to the finish in 21st overall and third in class with enormous satisfaction – I had a buzz for a whole week after that event.
The Rally of Scotland is part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and I think the IRC is filling a gap that the WRC hasn’t. It’s more of a European-based series with fantastic events such as Sanremo which aren’t on the WRC calendar. The IRC is not a halfway house, but a credible alternative to the WRC in which you have a lot of works teams and fast drivers. It’s an inspiring series because of its venues and Eurosport’s TV coverage, and it deserves to succeed.