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UK Rally Challenge 3 - Sunday 26th May 2002

Rally Challenge 3This event was the first outing for the Mk2 Escort. For a while it looked as if it might not make it as there were lots of little jobs to be done to the car to get it ready and we were running out of time. However everything was finished off about midnight on the Saturday allowing us to compete on the Sunday.

The Rally Challenge is run at Knockhill race circuit and it uses bits of the track, bits of the rallycross roads and some perimeter roads to make up the rally stages. There were four different stage layouts and each one was run twice to give a total of eight stages.

The first two stages were taken fairly cautiously as this was the first time that Gordon had driven a rear wheel drive car in a rally. The change of car caught him out as early as the first stage when the car spun round and got stuck on the grass leaving us stranded until some spectators came and pushed us out.
Stage 3 was going really well until we picked up a puncture about a mile from the end of the stage. With such a short distance to go we ran with the pucture. The car wouldn't turn left at anything faster than walking pace and we couldn't get out of second gear on the straights so a lot of time was lost touring to the end of the stage. Stage 4 went reasonably well although a gear selection problem was making it difficult to select first gear which in turn made it very difficult to negotiate the many hairpins that were on the stage.
Stages 5 & 6 went well although the gear problem was getting much worse. At the service, Sam was able to remove the gearstick and investigate the problem which turned out to be a broken pin at the bottom of the gearstick. With the gears fixed for the last two stages we had a very good run through stages 7 & 8 with one or two anxious moments as we run out of track and took to the grass.

The event turned out to be lots of fun and (for once) it stayed dry all day at Knockhill. The purpose of the event was to get some time in the car and gain some experience with the rear wheel drive. Considering the car hasn't rallied since 1987 the team were delighted to finish 31st overall and fifth in class.

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