Scottish Rally - Saturday 10th June 2006
The scottish rally was once again based in Dumfries and covered stages in Ae, Twiglees and Castle O'er. The event was also a counter in the five of clubs championship with the results after the first five stages counting towards the five of clubs results. The full event consisted of 7 stages.
The first stage was in Ae forest and everything went well with no problems through the stage other than the unbelievable heat inside the car. The time was a good one with the team completing the first stage 7th fastest overall to take an early lead among the five of clubs championship runners.
Stage 2 was next but when Gordon tried to start the car to move to the start line on stage 2 it wouldn't fire up. Some quick checks showed that no fuel pressure was the problem. The team then checked all of the fuses and the wiring going to the fuel pump. After a long time we found that the plastic electrical connector going to the top of the fuel pump was damaged inside and wasn't giving an electrical connection. This was removed and the pins straightened. When it was replaced the fuel pressure was back to normal and the engine started.
During all of this we were in dead time between the arrival control and the start line so we were lucky and didn't pick up any penalties. Unfortunately we were now right at the back of the field and among the army land rovers. The start line marshal wouldn't give us an extra minute between us and the land rover even though we knew we would catch it in the stage.
Stage 2 finally got started and we had a decent run through. We caught the land rover in front after about five miles but he seen us coming and moved over fairly quickly although we still lost around 15 or 20 seconds trying to get close in the dust.
With all the traumas we arrived back at service still in 9th place overall. At service we decided not to disturb the damaged fuel pump connector and just to leave it alone as it seemed to be working fine.
Stage 3 was next and was the short specatator stage in Dumfries. The team were very cautious through the water splash having killed the engine the previous year when too much water sprayed up and got into the intake.
Stage 4 was next. We had a land rover in front of us but he kindly allowed us to get past in dead time so that he didn't hold us up. There was a huge log had been dragged into the road near the start of the stage which caused us to go of into the undergrowth on the other side as hitting the log would have severly damaged the car. Fortunately there was no damage done.
Stage 5 went well although half way through Gordon got a bad call on the notes and had to work hard to keep the car on the road. The intercom then failed nearer the end but didn't cause too many problems.
Back to service and the crew were pleased to be classified as the first five of clubs crew giving maximum points towards the championship. There were no dramas so the crew got ready to tackle the two Ae stages again.
Stage 6 was going fine until about three miles from the end when the car hit a pothole in the road at around 90mph. There was a massive impact but the tyre didn't puncture although the crew were to discover later that a lot of damage had been sustained.
When the crew arrived at stage 7 the true extent of the damage became clear. The impact had knocked a big chunk off of the wheel and had split the tyre. It was a miracle that it didn't deflate. The impact had also cracked the windscreen. When the wheel was removed the crew noticed that the suspension had been damaged beyond repair. The strut was destroyed and wouldn't be giving any damping on that side of the car. The damaged suspension had also destroyed the CV boot, so the drive shaft had lost all of its grease and would start to heat up and get damaged as time went on.
The plan was to do damage limitation and to try and nurse the car to the end without losing too many places. The time was quite slow through the stage but we managed to hold on to 8th place.
The team were delighted to record their best ever finish on a scottish championship event and to be the first Mitsubishi home. The team also picked up the second in class 9 award as well to round off a fantastic day.
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