Thornton Takes Win on Wet and Wild Border Counties Rally
19 March 2019 | Ravenol Marketing
RAVENOL ventured north of the border at the weekend to catch up with our new rally partners, the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship (SRC), at the Border Counties Rally, which became the defacto opening round following the cancellation of the Snowman Rally.
We were proud to see the number of entrants displaying RAVENOL Challenge stickers, a side-competition we are running with the SRC where drivers who have previously not finished within the top 10 and make the biggest improvement are awarded vouchers to spend on RAVENOL products. End of season prizes are also available for the top three places respectively.
Up on the stages for the morning loop the overnight snow quickly turned to heavy rain, making conditions tough on the stages and several drivers had offs. Despite this all the crews were pushing hard, with SRC newcomer Peter Taylor setting identical top times with RAVENOL’s partner driver Garry Pearson in the opening stages.
Unfortunately it all went wrong for Pearson on SS3 when a spin landed his Fiesta R5 in a ditch, where he was stuck for 50 seconds. On the next stage rival driver Taylor was forced to retire with mechanical issues, effectively handing the lead to two-time SRC champion Euan Thorburn. Pearson fought to come back, but was unable to overhaul the Fiesta WRC. Behind them, Freddie Milne came home in third in his Mitsubishi Lancer to complete the podium.
Meanwhile, in the 2WD Championship, Paddy Munro managed to edge out fellow Escort driver Iain Wilson to take maximum points, whilst defending Juniors champion Niall Cowan topped the category on the Border Counties in his MG ZR.
“It’s brilliant,” rally winner Thorburn revelled in his end of event interview. “It didn’t look like it after the first few stages, we were a wee bit far away but we knew if the snow disappeared we could have a bit of a push. We had a good stage in three and four and obviously Garry had his problems so after that it was just a case of getting through the last two and taking the win. The car is awesome, it’s all just about getting my head back into it after a year out.”
Behind him, RAVENOL partner driver Pearson was also happy with clawing back 2nd despite being unable to push too hard in such treacherous conditions.
“After the conditions we were faced with today I’m absolutely delighted with the result” he said.
“Everything really felt comfortable in the car and we weren’t taking any unnecessary risks either. Historically I’ve always gone well in the borders so I knew I could push on a little, but that spin on stage three ultimately cost us the win, but I’m very happy with second place.
“We showed what we are capable of this morning and its very encouraging that the pace is ultimately there. We need to be consistent this year and build the points as much as possible, but it feels fantastic to be back in the car and a full championship campaign.”
Next up for the Scottish Rally championship is the McDonald and Munro Speyside Stages on Saturday 20th April. We wish Garry Pearson and all the RAVENOL Challenge contenders all the best of luck for the next round. We'll leave you with a video of the champagne spraying to keep you going until then!