Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally ready to host Scottish Championship battle

Argyll and Bute will see some of the best rally drivers in Scotland and beyond head for the region this weekend as they contest the eagerly awaited Dunoon Presents Argyll Rally (23rd June).

Around 60 competitors from the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) and a host of regional series will contest eight stages, totalling 45 miles in classic forest tests such as Glenbranter and Beinn Lagan. The mix of old and new, harks back to 1970’s when the event (then known as the Burmah Rally) witnessed iconic British Championship battles.

After taking a sabbatical for 13 years, the event returned for the first time in 2017 thanks to the hard work of organisers Mull Car Club. Now, in 2018 the rally will host a mid-season battle for the Scottish Rally Championship title as the forests around Dunoon once again echo to the sound of rally cars.

In a change of format, the event will run two-wheel-drive cars first on the road to allow them to take advantage of the best conditions in the forests. Current SRC two-wheel drive leaders Greg McKnight (Penpont) and Harry Marchbank will lead the field away from Dunoon Pier on Saturday morning in their Ford Escort MK2. They will be hoping to continue their unbeaten run of form in the series so far this season.

It’s a Ford triplet up front as Frazer MacNicol (Ullapool) / Andy Brown and Paul McErlean (Northern Ireland) / Niall McKenna follow behind, all aiming to take the top spot in the category. Kieth Riddick (Haugh of Urr) / Kirsty Riddick buck the trend in their potent MG ZR at number four seed with Alasdair Currie (Mull) / Grant MacNiven rounding off the top five in their Fiesta ST.

Rally fans will undoubtedly be waiting in the forests for the “big guns” and last years runner up Jock Armstrong (Castle Douglas) heads the four-wheel-drive contingent away in his familiar Subaru Impreza. Cammy Fair will take up co-driving duties once again as the duo aim to get their SRC title ambitions back on track.

Bruce McCombie (Banchory) / Micheal Coutts start behind them at two in their Mitsubishi Lancer with Mark McCulloch (Dumfries) / Michael Hendry starting at three in their Ford Fiesta R5. Donnie MacDonald (Inverness) is joined by Welshman Jamie Edwards in the co-drivers seat. MacDonald has the honour of leading the SRC in his Fiesta R5, but with only 6 points separating the top 5, it’s too close to call at this stage of the season.

Spectators and rally fans will get plenty of opportunities to catch the action both on and off the stages.

Dunoon Stadium will play host to the Rally HQ, documentation, technical checks and service area throughout the weekend. Crews will arrive from 3pm on Friday 22nd and can be seen carrying out last minute preparations before the rally. Refreshments and entertainment are available at the stadium throughout the rally.

The ceremonial start takes place on Dunoon Pier at 9am on Saturday 23rd, where crews will be flagged away before they head into the forests. The first chance to catch the action will be the Glenbranter stage, north of Dunoon at 9.30am. The test is repeated in the afternoon from around 1.20pm.

Bishops Glen offers two separate locations to watch the action, either near the start or part way through the stage. South of Dunoon on the A815, you can watch this test at 11.43am and again at 3.35pm.

The winners will then return to Dunoon Stadium for the finish celebrations at around 4pm.

The rally is backed by Dunoon Presents and the local community, all of which make the event possible. It is a qualifying round of the ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship, the Ecosse Challenge, the SD34 MSG Stage Rally Championship, the ANWCC Stage Rally Championship, the SG Petch ANECCC Stage Rally Championship and the SD34 MSG Inter Club League.

Full spectator information and entry list is available on the website:  www.argyllrally.co.uk

You can keep up to date on the event via their social media feeds which will be broadcasting live from the rally over the weekend.