Jonny Milner wins Scottish Rally! Milner the Brave secures Dynamic Scottish victory. Reigning British Rally Champion and 2002 Scottish Rally winner Jonny Milner and his Team Dynamics Pro Rally Toyota Corolla WRC took a fantastic last stage...
Jonny Milner wins Scottish Rally!
Milner the Brave secures Dynamic Scottish victory.
Reigning British Rally Champion and 2002 Scottish Rally winner Jonny Milner and his Team Dynamics Pro Rally Toyota Corolla WRC took a fantastic last stage victory on this weekend's Scottish Rally, throwing the gauntlet down to their Pirelli British Rally Championship rivals in the process.
After a two day battle with Finland's Tapio Laukkanen, Milner secured victory with a time 26 seconds faster than anyone else through the final eight mile stage, the Finn taking one final "cut" of a corner too many times and dropping 30 seconds with a puncture. Prior to the stage, Yorkshireman Milner and his Welsh co-driver Nicky Beech had been just 6.6 seconds off the rally lead.
The first day had a been a close run affair, with six stages taking the crews from the start in Dumfries west into the New Galloway forest region. Milner was soon hampered by a major problem with the front left suspension damper, which was not working at all. The spare carried by the team was not identical to the one being replaced, and Milner spent the rest of the weekend on less than balanced front suspension. The first leg ended with Jonny 22 seconds off the lead after a neat and tidy drive without any problems, other than catching Austin McHale's dust on the opening stages.
Day two saw the now typical Milner fight for the lead. The Huggate driver was flying in the Pirelli shod Toyota Corolla WRC, blitzing through the stages along with Laukkanen as the pair went at the stages hammer and tong in the battle for the lead. A puncture for the Finn on SS8 Shiel Rigg allowed Jonny into the lead, just 20 seconds up on Tapio with three to go. SS10 Glentrool was where the rally would be won and lost, and Milner suffered a puncture right at the end of the eighteen mile stage, also damaging a brake rear brake calliper beyond repair in the process.
With one stage to go, Tapio held a slender lead over Milner and Beech, and the British Rally Champions gave their all over the final eight miles, setting a stunning stage time. Laukkanen however, had cut a corner too much and punctured his Subaru's rear tyre, allowing Jonny and Nicky to take their second consecutive Scottish Rally victory.
"I'm absolutely delighted to win" quipped a chipper Milner at the finish. "Tapio and Jari Matti Latvala showed that they are absolutely on the pace all weekend. Compared with our older car, they have a fair advantage in terms of speed, but we used our experience to keep right at the sharp end of the battle. With so many cars suffering punctures, I adopted the cleanest line that I could for most of the event, and my Pirelli tyres worked superbly with traction and grip level extremely high. Our one puncture was as a result of a few massive rocks on the inside of the bend that would have punctured any tyre.
Tapio only just pipped us for the win on the Pirelli Rally, so I'm thrilled for Team Dynamics, Nicky, and all our team that our championship charge can really begin now. I really enjoy the tarmac rounds of the Pirelli British Rally Championship, and I'm very confident that we can continue to battle for the lead in the championship from here on in. There's no doubt that at the sharp end of the series, its as competitive as any championship in the world with Tapio, Jari-Matti and myself all capable of setting near identical stage times in very different cars. The Scottish was a brilliant rally and although we had some problems with the suspension, we loved every second out on the stages. It was great fun, a great battle, and it sets up the next round on tarmac really well for everyone concerned."
Milner leads the team to Edinburgh next, for the Jim Clark Memorial Rally. Almost uniquely, the rally uses closed public tarmac roads near to the town of Duns, providing extremely high speed tarmac action on the smooth and fast stages in the area. Last year Milner finished a battling second after a high speed collision with a stout Scottish wall left Andrew Nesbitt to take victory. Will the Irishman return for more this year, and how will the two Finnish drivers enjoy their tarmac outings? Either way, they know they will have to be on the limit and beyond to keep ahead of the flying Jonny Milner.
<pre> Scottish Rally - Final Results after Eleven Special Stages:
1 Jonny Milner/ Nicky Beech Toyota Corolla WRC98 18.104.22.168 2 Tapio Laukkanen/Mika Antilla Subaru Impreza WRC99 + 28 seconds 3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Carl Williamson Ford Focus WRC01 + 3 mins 47 seconds