Grant Inglis and Sean Robson were the winners as the Brick and Steel Ecosse Challenge joined the Scottish rally circus in returning to the forests of the west for Saturday’s Oban-based Rally of Argyll. Inglis and stand-in co driver Keir Beaton benefited from experience to keep their cool and extend Grant’s lead at the top of the Civic standings. The son and father Robson team, meanwhile, took their second win of the year in the Peugeot 205 class.
Glasgow driver Inglis moved into the lead after early pacesetter Graeme Schoneville retired with driveshaft failure on the third stage. Grant then turned in his best performance since joining the one-make series to keep Borderers Ross Hunter and Eildon Hall at bay over the remaining tests. Ruary MacLeod and Will Rogers finished third Honda to maintain Ruary’s recent run of form.
In the 205 Ecosse Challenge, Sean Robson was on the pace from the word go. Dad and co-driver Iain returned to the left-hand seat after having to sit out the last round with a minor illness, and celebrated his return to the car with a victory. Former champion Mark McCulloch and co-driver Mairi Riddick traded fastest times with the Robsons before an untimely demise due to driveshaft failure on the sixth Loch Avich test. This left Graeme Smith and Laura Marshall to take the runner-up spot, putting in a remarkable drive despite countless mechanical difficulties.
Duns teenager Garry Pearson and Inverbervie navigator Tom Hynd were plagued with fuel starvation issues for the duration of the rally that slowed their progress, and Steven Smith lost time early on as he got used to a substitute co-driver. The result keeps Steven Smith and his usual co-driver Russell Fair at the head of the 205 title race, but with three different winners from four rounds the Peugeot series is set to go down to the wire.
“I’m delighted with the result and can see I’m getting quicker in the Honda all the time,” believes Inglis. “Last time I rallied in Argyll we ended up ripping two wheels off the car and having to crawl out through the windscreen, and this time I’m lifting a trophy and spraying champagne – it couldn’t be better!”
“It’s good to be back to winning ways again in the 205 after winning the first round back in March,” declares St Boswells joiner Robson. “It would have been easy to have been fazed by stages with such a scary reputation, but we prepared like we would for any other rally and went out with the mindset that we needed to win – and it seemed to work.”
The next Challenge round will be the Gleaner Oil and Gas Speyside Stages in Elgin on Saturday 7 August.