Inverness: Dave Weston rally report

Weston Makes Rocky Start Dave Weston's hopes of opening up an early lead in the New Pig Scottish Rally Championship were dashed this weekend, he finished the opening round of the championship in a hard earned 10th position collecting ...

Weston Makes Rocky Start

Dave Weston's hopes of opening up an early lead in the New Pig Scottish Rally Championship were dashed this weekend, he finished the opening round of the championship in a hard earned 10th position collecting 20 championship points.

The first round of the Scottish Championship, the Snowman Rally certainly lived up to it's name. Heavy snow and strong winds ensured that the forest stages had a slippery covering. Dave got off to a steady start, his new Group A Lancer EVO 6 was proving to be a real handful in the conditions, requiring skill and determination to keep it on the road.

Dave said: "It is just so hard to get the power down in these conditions, you are fighting with it all the time and you have to be so precise with the throttle."

SS2 saw yet more snow fall and the temperature was beginning to drop more, the conditions got the better of Dave and he slid off the road, causing some light damage to the front of the car. Unfortunately during this off-road excursion a crucial pipe from the turbo to the engine was damaged robbing the Lancer of power. Dave had to cruise through the rest of SS2 and all of SS3 until he could enter emergency service. The service crew effected a temporary repair and Dave continued to SS4.

Dave was going well through SS4, gaining time and places on the leaderboard. But more snow fall and heavy wind had turned the stage into something more reminiscent of Norway than Scotland, Dave slid off the road and ended up in a ditch, luckily the Group A Lancer made short work of getting back on the road but Dave lost valuable time. Dave said: "We were had a seven right then a seven left, the back end just started to come around and in these conditions there was no way to stop it. We ended up in a ditch, but luckily the car just pulled itself straight out again."

In SS5 Dave's luck would only get worse, he clipped a large rock on a left-hand corner, bending the lower suspension arm and steering rack of the Lancer. He limped into emergency service where the RAMSport team changed the damaged parts and got him going again. Dave said: "We were following the path someone else had taken through the corner, but I think they must have thrown a big rock onto the track. It was just really bad luck."

SS6 saw a change in Dave's fortunes, he was beginning to master the conditions and went on to set the second fastest time. By the final stage he had found his groove and set the fastest time, showing the potential of the car and his driving ability. Dave finished in a disappointing 10th position, however this still earned him 20 valuable championship points, which is more than some of the other championship front runners who fell foul of the conditions. Dave commented: "We would have liked to do better here, but at least we aren't going home empty handed. I just can't wait for the next round where we will be able to use the power of the car."

The next round of the Scottish championship takes competitors to Jedburgh for the Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally on March 23. This rally uses the infamous forests around the Kielder reservoir, which always provide plenty of action. Dave is supported in 2002 by: Kumho Tyres, Texaco Oils, Bruce McCombie Builders, Thistle hotels, John Lawrie and worldrallying.com.

- www.worldrallying.com

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