Kames trophy Rally, Muirkirk, Ayrshire
After nearly nine years of competing GMC-MOTORSPORT managed their first top ten finish at last weeks Kames Trophy Rally. This is quite an accomplishment bearing in mind we compete in the smallest engine class. No only that, the team were seeded in the 1600cc class and still managed first in class at the end of the day with our 1400cc Opel Corsa. The new car is proving to be somewhat invincible with three class wins out of its first three events.
The stages were centred around Kames circuit in Muirkirk, although later in the day the crews headed west to Lugar, Ralston and Cumnock for what was to be some of the roughest stages the team had ever seen.
As the Corsa has been built as a Tarmac rally car, it was difficult to predict how it would handle on the loose gravel and mud of these stages. Prior to the event, suspension adjustments were made to cope with the rough terrain expected and with this being our first gravel event it was very beneficial to be offered a set of Yokohama forest tyres courtesy of A1 TYRES OF EAST KILBRIDE. Undoubtedly, these tyres played a large part in the performance of the car on the loose surface of the Ayrshire roads.
The morning stages went very well, with only one minor incident to report, this being a slight overshot on a hairpin. On stage 2, we drove the car so hard we shared joint fastest time overall.
At the morning service halt we had been allocated enough time to allow our Service Crew to alter the cars suspension system to change the car from Tarmac specification to full forest set up. This, in normal circumstances takes up to an hour to complete but when you are against the clock to arrive at the following special stage on time, 25 minutes were all that was required.
The gravel stages were generally farm tracks that had not been used for some time and to say the car was put through its paces was an understatement. We came out of the early afternoon stages with a lead of around 2 minutes and going into the last two stages we knew that if we just kept the car on the road and did not try anything dramatic we would keep our 1st in class position.
The last stage proved to be the toughest of the day with ruts and culverts to a depth of around 12". At these points the car was literally gliding along on the sump guard and undercarriage and providing the speed was kept up we would not get stuck. Around 1 mile from stage finish, we encountered a very severe steering wobble and knocking, which we believed to be a front right puncture but with only 1 mile to the stage finish we opted to continue to the end of the stage only to find no puncture. We can only assume this problem was possibly a large stone or rock being caught in the suspension causing the steering difficulties.
At the rally finish in Cumnock we received our prizes for winning the class and also a very credible 7th Overall. We thoroughly enjoyed our day and will most certainly be back for next year's event.
The car at present has been fully inspected after this rough event and the suspension has been changed back to its normal tarmac settings ready for it's next event. We have booked the car in to a suspension specialist, where it will be set-up using lasers in an effort to further improve the handling for the forthcoming events. After this it will again visit ROBINSON TUNING IN CAMBUSLANG for another power run on the rolling road to ensure the car is performing to its full potential for the next event "The Milltown Stages" in Elgin on the 28th September.