Friday, 12 October 2012

Best rally in the world

            'BEST RALLY IN THE WORLD', THE TUNNOCK'S MULL RALLY, PREVIEW

Often labelled the "Best Rally in the World", the Tunnock's Mull Rally — the most intense, fastest and demanding Tarmac event in the country — roars into action for the 43rd time this evening (Fri).
As the late autumn darkness closes in on the island, the 120 crews head out into the first of 17 stages and 153 miles of high speed, all-out action over three days and nights.
Winner 12 months ago, Paul MacKinnon is sitting this year's event out, so local drivers Calum and Iain Duffy will once again, be the guys to beat.

But while the six-time winning Dervaig duo will again pilot their 2.5-litre Ford Escort MkII, they face stiff competition from another MkII Escort in the hands of previous winner, James MacGillivray
Both Mull drivers will be put under pressure by the Subaru Impreza WRC of John Cope. But such is the challenge Cope faces, that the Yorkshire driver will be bidding to become the first non-islander to win the Tunnock's Mull Rally since 2002.
And 2002 winner, Daniel Harper, piloting his Mini Cooper, will throw everything he can at the event in an effort to win 10 years after his last victory on the unforgiving Mull roads.
Such is the strength in depth of the Scots competition though, that Harper and Cope might do well to even finish on the podium.

While islander Lewis Gallagher from Tobermory, who finished seventh last year, will be on the pace again in his Subaru Impreza, Biggar's Alan Gardiner, co-driven by Robin Nicolson (Largs) will mount a challenge in their Ford Escort MkI. And there's no denying many of the eyes will be on the Rally Team Scotland Ford Fiesta of John MacCrone.

The 22-year-old Mull ace, backed by Palletforce and Tunnock's, and co-driven by Glasgow's Stuart Loudon, have dashed back from the latest round of the WRC Academy in France to contest the rally.
"I wouldn't miss it for the world," MacCrone, who finished on the podium in France, his second successive WRC Academy top-three result, said. "It's the event which fuelled my desire to become a rally driver.
"People keep asking me how good the Tunnock's Mull Rally actually is? I believe the stages are good enough, tough enough and fast enough to be an IRC, even a WRC event. That's how good it is."
This year's event, which largely follows the figure of eight route which formed the basis of Brian Molyneux’s brainchild back in 1969, includes a number of lengthy stages. In fact, almost a third of the stages are over 14-miles long.

With the official start in Tobermory this evening (Fri), the Tunnock's Mull Rally finishes — at the end of the traditional final stage, the Long One — with a new floodlit Stop Line in the middle of Dervaig, around 1.30am on Sunday.