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  • Writer's pictureDrew Bentham

RAC Rally Round Up - Day 3

A Frosty Ae forest
A Frosty Ae forest to begin the day

An 8.79 miles in Ae opened the assault in the Scottish forests this morning and the crew awoke to a frosty start to day 3 on the RAC rally. Both Arroch Hill stages were cancelled today. Chris Harris has now been confirmed to have retired at the end of day 2, after the suspension collapsed. McCormack started to push on the first stage of the day in an attempt to keep the the leaders in reach. Further down the field, Rob Evett (Car 168) managed to get his rear axle fixed on his Marina after earlier trouble.

The drivers reported that grip was a lot higher in Ae that expected with occasional slippy spots, but overall everyone seemed to enjoy it. Solberg took the fastest time through with an 8:39, 3s faster. Pritchard took a more considered run through Ae, but still set a time of 9:01, 4th overall. Perez had a steady run through also, but reported seeing Paul Barrett at the side of the road.

Pryce and McCormak shared the top time of 5:54 ahead of Solberg 3rd fastest through SS16 Dalbeattie. With a run of 6 minutes dead, Pritchard moved up ahead of McCormack to take 3rd overall. Further down the leaderboard, Mathew Robinson was true to his word and returned to deliver the 'full send' and a 10th fastest time of 6:07.

After the lunchtime halt, fans would receive the news of yet another retirement. In SS17 Glengap 1, Osian Pryce reported on his Facebook page that the rally was at an end for them and were seen parked up on the side of the road. In 2021 they were in the running for the win also before being forced to retire. We'll have to see if they can continue But they were not alone.....

Barrett/Noble retire with engine misfire
Barrett/Noble retire with engine misfire

If fact after 17 stages there were 11 crews that ran into trouble. Paul Barrett and Gordon Noble bowed out with an engine misfire. They were on a good pace over the first 2 days being 4th overall after Thursday. Last nights final stage in the dark of Hafren Forest they suffered a double puncture. They changed the rear tyre but had to drive the final 4 tough miles with a flat front wheel. Starting this morning with new confidence they went well but a misfire on the first stage at Ae led to the engine stoppage. They could return tomorrow along with Ghislain de Mevius who also stopped in SS17.

Solberg/Edmonson now had a 3:41 lead going into SS18 over McCormack in 2nd, with Jason Pritchard now in 3rd place a further 50s back after a slight off into the bushes. Steve Perez had a radiator change before SS18 at the side of the road. They also got stuck on a bank in SS18 but manged to get going again. Car 32, Craig Jones had a small accident on the way to SS18 with a management truck causing damage to the oil cooler and pushing the radiator back. They managed to affect a repair enough to carry on.

SS18 Glencaird Hill is a fast flowing 10.6 mile stage that left most of the crews with ear to ear smiles at the end of the stage. The compression before the bridge ended up causing a few moments for many crews. Barry McKenna damaged his steerting at the same place.

SS20 broought more misery for James Ford and Niel Shanks who suffered suspension failure on the Porshe 911and are out of the rally. That promotes Richard Tutill into 7th place.

For a list of retirements at the end of the day visit the official timing site These crews could restart tomorrow.

Final results at the end of day 3 are:

  1. Oliver Solberg 2:58:22

  2. Martin McCormack +4:58

  3. Jason Pritchard +6:01

  4. Seb Perez +7:48

  5. Cathan McCourt +8:20

  6. Ben Friend +9:38

  7. Dyfrig James +11:53

  8. Adrian Hetherington +11:51

  9. Daniel Keith Mennell +11:56

  10. Ieuan Evans +13:29

Sunday will serve up 88 miles around the border forests of Kielder and Kershope. SS23 is first up at 08:30 on the official rally Facebook page and Special Stage Youtube channel.

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