( Provisional ) Leaderboard after 12 (of 17 Stages)
1 P MacKinnon/D Barritt (Subaru Impreza) 1h 27m 24s
2 C Duffy/I Duffy (Ford Escort MkII) 1h 27m 49s
3 W Bonniwell/K Rae (Subaru Impreza) 1h 32m 01s
4 J MacGillivray/I Frazer (Ford Escort MkII) 1h 32m 10s
5 J Cope/R Fagg (Subaru Impreza) 1h 32m 19s
6 D Harper/C Campbell (BMW MINI) 1h 32m 41s
7 K Hall/R Millener (Ford Fiesta) 1h 33m 22s
8 T Pye/K Riddick (Subaru Impreza) 1h 33m 32s
9 T Bardy/R Smith (Nissan Sunny GTI-R) 1h 34m 03s
10 D Miller/A Bailey (Subaru Impreza) 1h 34m 59s
As ever, the 39th Tunnock’s Tour of Mull Rally will be decided on the final Leg tonight. Those who lost out in the dark last night made up for it in the daylight this afternoon, but there time will come later if they don’t rise to the challenge.
And looking as though he did this all the time, ‘MacKinnon The Younger’ is doing the business at the head of the field. But there can be no rest for the rally leader, there is a clear and present danger in his rear view mirror. If Calum’s Escort can stop cooking its rear tyres, then we’ll be in for a fight tonight. For his part, James MacGillivray was looking as cool as ever earlier this afternoon although Willie Bonniwell took time out of him over the final two tests, but James was still holding off a determined John Cope. These three are waging a private battle of their own, but that damned MINI hasn’t given up on a podium placing yet either. Daniel Harper lost out to them earlier but he has all his sparks back now!
Doug Weir is out, the Escort broke its propshaft in Calgary, but not before he took a second out of his son Stevie Brown in the previous stage. Stevie says “He won’t let me forget that now and can always say he was quicker before he went out!” Grum Willcock says “I always seem to go backwards in daylight, when the big boys start getting quicker, but I’ll get them all back tonight.” John Morrison stalled it on the start line of Calgary “Oh, b*gg*r” he said, or words to that effect. John Marshall is going better, no punctures this afternoon and Cameron McLean left his exhaust in Calgary, and left rubber on a Dervaig hairpin when he overshot. After running a Nova for years, Angus Mathieson is finding the switch to an Impreza a bit of a culture shock but revelling inn the grip and the power. Jim McKenna says he’s taking it easy, he’s had two re-shell jobs recently and he’s running out of Starlet shells in Ireland. A bolt came out of Paul Daniel’s steering rack on Mishnish. “Good job I didn’t know at the time or I would have crawled through there” he said. Grant Fleming is looking quite pleased with himself after his Scrutineering day embarrassment “I haven’t been as high as this since ’75” said the 23rd o/a runner. But then Fleming is under serious pressure. His eventual overall position will determine just how generous his sponsor is to him for the rest of the year, and since that sponsor is Tunnock’s Bakery, he could starve before the year is out if he doesn’t do well! Points make prizes as they say, or in this case, points make teacakes. Allan Mackay is getting serious, he’s changed the Inters for slicks – and he’s just heard it’s raining down the south end of the island. John Woodward had cause to be thankful for spectators – when they pushed him out of the shrubbery after a straight-on in Mishnish and Matthew Tarbutt is struggling a bit, the 1400 class front runner is having problems with his carburettors.
And so to the final five tests. Man and machine versus time and distance, but there’s a little more to it than that. The magical extra ingredient – Mull itself. The island roads always have a twist in their tale and this year is no exception. 13 miles up the Hill Road and down Glen Bellart. There’ll be demons in dark places tonight – remember last year?
Yer Auld Pal, Jaggy Bunnet – Saturday, 5.30 pm, Tobermory