Formula Rally Championship - Round 6 -- Jim Clark Rally
Drama As Driveshaft Defeats Dale
From leading to retiring in one little jump. Justin Dale has retired from the Jim Clark Rally on special stage 4 Blackadder after the driveshaft broke on a bad landing from a jump. The Peugeot 106 Super 1600 has not fared well on this event before, but to retire from the lead again is extremely disappointing.
The TOTAL supported car had run faultlessly for the stage last night and the first two this morning. The slightly damp conditions hadn't really posed any problems, although Justin had commented on one extreme slide with full lock in one direction followed by the opposite until he had sorted it out.
Stage 2, 8 miles in Edrom to the north east of Duns had set the scene for the day. Dale set fastest time, 5 seconds clear of David Higgins in the Volkswagon. Rowe was a further 2 seconds back. This had meant Justin extended his lead overall to 13.4 seconds.
Stage 3, Ayton was 7.87 miles of more treacherous scenery, the narrow roads holding on to the damp on corners, which Justin discovered with a full slide. This cost him a couple of seconds, allowing Higgins to top the sheets for the first time on 7.19.6, with Justin coming a close second on 7.20.9. However, extending his lead by another 3.6 seconds over Rowe was comfort enough.
But Stage 4, Blackadder was to see his demise. A jump over a bridge resulted in a hard landing and the driveshaft broke on impact. Justin attempted to drive the car out, but a small hill a little further on defeated the Super 1600 and he was forced to retire, absolutely gutted.
"It just took off as normal," Justin commented later. "It wasn't as big a jump as some last night, but it just snapped on landing. We were going well. We had come here to win, and leading is where we were, until.. We were happy just pushing enough to take time out of Martin. I think we could have gone quicker, but we didn't want to take big risks."
Andrew Bargery added "We will probably have to win in Banbury now to take the championship, but we cope well with pressure and will look forward to that." Andrew had been feeling poorly on the Friday during the recce and early part of the rally, put down to a virus. A quick visit to the doctor had resulted in some anti-sickness tablets which had resolved the immediate problem!
In the meantime, Martin Sansom had started to come into his best form, posting a 3rd fastest time on Stage 6. Ironically, he then went over exactly the same corner in Blackadder on it's rerun as S7, and retired in exactly the same fashion, a broken driveshaft curtailing his event. It just wasn't his event, as he had the gear selection problems last night, and even his service area cover (E-Z up) had a moment, air-lifting out of the service area and crashing into the nearby field.
Rob Russell is having an almighty tussle with Simon Hughes in the contenders from the Super 106 Cup, Hughes just having taken the lead, and moved into 13th overall after S9. Chris Moore has retired with suspected cam belt failure, while Martin Evans is still running strongly.