Junior rally driver Craig Rutherford stormed to a class win and 22nd place overall on Sunday’s Jim Clark Reivers Rally – just 48 hours after wrecking his car during pre-event practice. Craig’s service crew worked flat-out to get the youngster’s car back in shape after an accident during Friday testing, and the Isle of Mull driver rewarded their efforts with a fast run over the Borders back lanes.
More eagle-eyed fans would have noticed bits from several different rally cars bolted onto Rutherford’s rapidly repaired Honda Civic Type R as it crossed the event start in the Borders village of Duns. A front bumper was sourced from Aberdeen driver Colin Smith’s car, a wing came from Lancashire preparation firm EuroRallye, and a replacement bonnet came from a nearby scrapyard! But what mattered was that the car drove just as well as it did prior to the indiscretion.
After having to drive through the first stage of the day without windscreen wipers, Rutherford (21) and new co-driver Ross Hynd from Ayr picked up the pace to set a series of top-thirty times – including eighteenth place outright on the second Bothwell test. Despite a small excursion into – and back out of – a hedge late on in the rally, Craig and Ross finished strongly to secure another class win in the fourth round of the Scottish Rally Championship.
“After Friday, we can definitely count this as a good result. We had a big off while we were doing the shakedown, and had to replace everything at the front of the car – bumpers, wings, windscreen, you name it,” explains Fionnphort company director Rutherford, who was full of praise for his service crew. “I can’t thank my crew enough for getting the car back together, we had two very late nights before the rally but we made it!”
Craig was also delighted with the performance of new co-driver Ross Hynd, a fellow junior who – like Craig – made his rallying debut as soon as he was old enough to enter events. “Ross is absolutely brilliant, he is clearly very experienced and full of confidence,” believes Rutherford. “You can trust his description of the road ahead one hundred percent, and I’m looking forward to working with him over the rest of the season.”
The next rally for Craig Rutherford and Ross Hynd will be the RSAC Scottish Rally on Saturday 30 June 2012. By that time, the team’s Honda Civic Type R will hopefully have been returned to one coherent colour scheme – but the resolve and determination the team showed on the Jim Clark will be undiminished.