Granite – Brief Preview

The Brick and Steel Ecosse Challenge circus heads to Aberdeen this weekend for the Station Garage Mitsubishi Granite City Rally, the second round of the series. Crews will tackle 43 miles of special stage to the west of Aberdeen on Saturday 17 April, as they look to steal an early march on their rivals.

In the Civic Ecosse Challenge for Honda Civic cars, local driver Euan Duncan is hoping to build on his strong start to the season. Aberdeen service engineer Duncan and Maryburgh co-driver MacInnes lead the Civic standings after one round, and are aiming to go even faster this time out. But with Carluke junior Graeme Schoneville and his co-driver Phil Coulby hot on their heels, and Borders youngsters Ross Hunter/Eildon Hall quickly getting up to speed, the Civic result is far from a foregone conclusion.

The presence of junior hotshots Stevie Brown and John MacCrone in Ford Fiesta R2s gives the Civics further reason to go all out on the Granite. Former 205 Challenge champion MacCrone and Fiesta Sporting Trophy star Brown are regarded as two of the finest young drivers in Scotland, and are expected to fly in their brand new Ford rally machines. But the Civic crews will be doing everything in their power to prove their older, low-cost machines can give the Fiestas a run for their money.

In the popular 205 Ecosse Challenge for the venerable Peugeot 205 GTi, meanwhile, it’s the son-and-father crew of Sean and Iain Robson from St Boswells who lead the way after coming out on top in last month’s season-opening Border Counties Rally. Again, however, a braying back of Peugeots are eager to stop the Robsons running away with it, not least the all-student crew of Garry Pearson and Kirstie Marshall. Electrical gremlins and a minor off-road excursion prevented Pearson and Marshall from challenging their Borders rivals last time out, but Garry’s Border Rally Sport team are confident they have the car back in full fettle. Steven Smith and Russell Fair of East Kilbride are aiming to improve on their third place in the first round, whereas Fifer Jamie Watson and Lanarkshire co-driver Stephen Williamson hope to go one better after coming second on the Border Counties.

“Our aim is obviously to go faster than last time, and with two very good drivers in the Fiestas there’s plenty of incentive to do so,” believes Euan Duncan (26). “It’ll take something pretty special to beat the Fords but I’d like to think I could give it a good shot.”

“My confidence in the car is improving all the time and I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve been doing up until now,” explains St Boswells joiner Sean Robson. “The Granite was my first Challenge round last year and I feel I’ve made great progress since then.”

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