Paul’s DiRT Diary Part 5 – The Scottish Rally
To think that at this point it had been over a year now since myself and Jon set off on this journey is pretty crazy, again thank you to everybody who has been reading these diaries so far and thank you for all your comments. This is the penultimate diary entry in the series and takes place back in June 2012.
With the new gearbox fitted it was time to head to the Scottish Rally in Dumfries on the 30th June 2012. It was quite a trek for Jon and me but with the car being based at Eclipse Performance in Sunderland it was more effective to compete there. Once again we were unhappy with our seeding but it was understandable given our lack of results. We arrived at the service park on Friday afternoon and met up with the Vital Equipment team to discuss tyre choice with them.
The weather was miserable and we had our suspicions that it would continue to be pretty miserable throughout the day…
The weather was miserable and we had our suspicions that it would continue to be pretty miserable throughout the day on Saturday so we opted for a brand new set of narrower Dmack tyres with some extra cuts to help with the loose and slippery conditions. The car arrived later that afternoon so we had the tyres fitted and headed back to the Bed & Breakfast for an early night.
The next morning was a relatively late start because we were so far down the running order. We headed to the service area and met up with the rest of the Eclipse performance team. We fitted the cameras and performed the last minute checks on the car before heading into the centre of Dumfries for the ceremonial start. It is always great to see a town come out and celebrate the start of a Rally, too often in this day and age the sport is frowned upon as the loud cars disturb the otherwise tranquil areas in which we tend to compete.
With the ceremonial start complete we headed out onto the first loop. After a promising start we slid into a ditch on Stage 1 and found ourselves stuck. After some valiant effort from the crowds we managed to drive ourselves out having lost nearly 2 minutes. We quickly caught the car that had passed us in the ditch and then started to try to make up the lost time despite the torrential rainfall. The weather cleared for the start of stage 2 and we pressed on. Despite showing great pace the car hit a bump and we found ourselves spinning out.This really wasn’t our day.
We headed to service and checked the car over before heading out onto the second loop. Stages 3 & 4 went off without incident however the weather had cleared and we were now on the wrong tyre choice so we were unable to make the gains we had hoped for. After the second service we headed out to the final loop. Stage 5 was a spectator stage where we pressed really hard and managed a decent stage time. We then pressed hard through stage 6 to try and make back as much time as possible on the longer stage however we were red flagged as an ambulance had been called to an incident at the flying finish.
While we were sat waiting for the crew to be attended to the Impreza started to overheat. Fortunately the marshal that had flagged us down had a 5 gallon water bottle in their motorhome so we were able to deal with the problem at the roadside. As we drove out of the stage we were left with mixed emotions. On the one hand we were glad to have achieved a finish but on the other we were left thinking what might have been. Fortunately the competitors involved in the accident were not too badly injured but our rally was over and we received a nominal time for the stage.
We finished a disappointing 36th overall but at least we finished.