Backed by Dunoon Presents and the local community, the event has attracted a quality field of entries all bidding to add their name to the winner’s trophy which includes an impressive list such as Roger Clark and Jimmy McRae and could see a crucial battle in the SRC title chase played out in the forests around Dunoon.
With the event’s origins harking back to the early 1970s, the Argyll Rally was resurrected by current event organisers Mull Car Club in 2017 and has hosted a round of the Scottish Championships ever since. This year, it is also a round of the Gazzard Accounts SD34 MSG Stage Rally Championship and the SG Petch ANECCC Stage Rally Championship.
As one of the most popular annual events in Dunoon, motorsport fans will be able to get a great taste of the action with four chances to see the cars at high-speed thanks to dedicated spectator areas in the forests.
In a bid to offer the sometimes-lesser powered cars the best road conditions on the stages, a change to the format has been introduced for 2019 which will see the two-wheel-drive cars run at the head of the field – fastest first. This means, leading the rally away from Dunoon on Saturday morning will be Dumfries driver Mark McCulloch and co-driver Michael Hendry in their rapid BMW E30 but all eyes will undoubtedly be on the four-wheel-drive category.
Winners of the Argyll Rally in 2017 and current SRC leaders, Euan Thorburn and Paul Beaton will carry the coveted number one on the door of their Ford Focus WRC. Winning all but one of the events they have contested so far this season, they are firm favourites to scoop another win and almost certainly seal the SRC title.
That will not be an easy task, with Jock Armstrong and Cammy Fair another crew looking for their first win of the 2019 season in their Subaru Impreza. They start at car three, with the Hyundai i20 R5 of John Wink and Neil Shanks behind them on the road at four. Bruce McCombie and Michael Coutts make the trip from Banchory in their Focus WRC and round out the top five.
Picking a winner will be a difficult task this weekend and around 55 cars will be tackling classic stages such as Gairletter Bishops Glen, Glenbranter and Coire Ealt.
Watching the event both on and off the stages offers a great chance to see some of the finest rally drivers at work and there will be plenty of opportunities to do so during the weekend.
Based once again at Dunoon Stadium, the rally kicks off on Friday 21st June with pre-event checks from around 3:00 pm. The Stadium will also play host to Rally HQ and the service area for the rally on Saturday with entertainment and a planned live stream of the action to a large TV in the service park. Crews visit three times during the day from around 10:00 am onwards.
The event will commence with a now traditional ceremonial start at Dunoon Pier on Saturday morning at 9:00 am before heading into the stages. The first of which is Glenbranter which is situated on the A815 north from Dunoon near Glenbranter village. The stage is run twice, at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm.
Bishops Glen is situated just a stone’s throw from Dunoon along the A518. The spectator area offers good viewing of a fast downhill section just after the start into a sweeping right-hand bend before heading back uphill. The spectator area will have toilets and a food van, t-shirts and programmes are also available. It is also run twice, firstly at 11:40 am and again at 3:30 pm.
The ceremonial finish rounds off the event back at the Stadium from around 4.20pm. Full spectator details, maps and entry details are available at www.argyllrally.co.uk
You can keep up to date on the event with planned live broadcasting via their social media feeds.
All images: Eddie Kelly Motorsport Photography