David Henderson scored maximum Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship points the first time out in his new Michelin-shod Keco/PAR Petroleum-backed Ford Fiesta Rally2 after a magnificent run on the Dunoon presents Argyll Rally – while third has given John Stone the lead in the drivers’ standings.
Co-driven by Chris Lees, Henderson mastered the narrow, twisty and challenging closed roads of Argyll and Bute, coming from third Protyre Asphalt position after a textbook performance on Friday night’s four stages to take the top spot after a further eight stages held in daylight on Saturday. Henderson managed to hold on to maximum points, despite picking up a one-minute penalty for hitting a chicane on SS9.
Roskell overcame adversity to score a very hard-earned second place Protyre Asphalt points finish. He lost over 10 seconds on the opening stage when a combination of cold Michelin tyres and a greasy Dunoon town centre surface saw him skid off the road and into a hay bale. Together with co-driver Andrew Roughead he was still a close second starting Saturday’s stages but lost time when his ND Civils/Burdens Ford Fiesta R5+ picked up a double puncture on SS6, which caused a brake line to burst and a rose joint to fail. Despite steering problems, he managed to get the car to service and completed the afternoon loop to score his best result of the season.
John Stone took the final Protyre Asphalt podium position, but it was far from a trouble-free run to third. He and co-driver Tom Woodburn lost over a minute on Friday night when the intercom failed, a problem made all the worse by a sudden and heavy shower of rain on the longest stage of the rally, the 14-mile Otter Ferry test held in darkness. The drama wasn’t over, as he put his Legend Fires Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 off the road on SS10. Spectators had to push the car back onto the road and he survived to tell the tale of a very eventful trip to Scotland, as he came away with the Protyre Asphalt lead, just two points ahead of Roskell.
Mark Kelly enjoyed a good recce and with new co-driver Will Atkins was looking forward to his maiden Argyll Rally. Having won the Dynamic Fluids best-presented car award before the start, it all went wrong on the long 14-mile SS4 when he crashed his Michelin-shod Roccia/Tile Master-backed Ford Fiesta R5+ out of the event.
Steve Wood had led the Protyre Asphalt contingent at the overnight halt, the Welshman recording a driving masterclass in the dark in his City East Ford Fiesta RS WRC. His advantage over Roskell was only two seconds, and the two drivers were then tied after Saturday’s opening stage. Co-driven by Dale Bowen, Wood’s hope of taking the lead of the UK’s premier sealed-surface series ended when he put the car off the road on SS6.
Mark Holmes/Mark Perryman were lying fifth Protyre Asphalt crew after a fantastic opening leg performance in their Ford Fiesta S2000. Unfortunately, hopes of a back-to-back maximum class B14 points finish ended in a ditch on SS5.
Brad Cole has extended his lead in both the Ford Escort Challenge and class B13 after an impressive drive in his 2.5-litre Smith & Jones powered Hydroline Solutions Escort Mk2. Co-driven by Jamie Vaughan, an extraordinary performance also saw the Somerton driver pick up fourth place overall Protyre Asphalt points which moves him up to sixth in the overall drivers’ standings – and top two-wheel drive pilot.
Darren Atkinson finished just four seconds behind in his Atkinsons Sandblasting/S&W Fabrication-backed Escort Mk2. He completed SS4 with oil on a wet windscreen, thanks to being overtaken by a four-wheel drive car that had gone off and regained the road behind him, and the result was a fine gift for co-driver Phil Sandham who was celebrating his birthday in Argyll.
Olly Hunter has taken the class B11 lead after a fine drive in his Vauxhall-engined Ford Escort Mk2. He and co-driver Daniel May were also given a one-minute penalty for clipping a chicane on SS4, which cost them overall points.
It was Nathan Evans/Rhys Edwards who won class B11 in Argyll, despite their rapid 2-litre Tuned Motorsport UK Renault Clio 2 Cup car locking up at times under braking and a couple of wrong tyres choices along the way.
The 2018 class B11 champions Paul and Julian Doroszczuk finished third in class in their normally aspirated Cosworth-engined Drockspeed Motorsport Escort Mk2.
Jonathan Stepney/Aled Davies made it two class B12 wins out of two starts in their 1.9-litre engined Griffiths/Gavin Griffiths Group-backed Peugeot 205 GTi, which gives them the lead in the category.
Steven Ormond-Smith/Dafydd Evans enjoyed an excellent run in their Manx Rally Sport Mitsubishi Evo 9, picking up sixth place overall Protyre Asphalt points despite having to tackle much of leg one with lights that didn’t fully work. They also took maximum class B14 points, although the category is still being led by the defending class champion Adrian Spencer, who (co-driven by Mark Hewitt) had another strong outing in his RED Industries Subaru Impreza WRX.
In recent years class B9 has been dominated by Williams Mains (Vauxhall Nova) but not anymore as Simon Hunter scored maximum points in Argyll and is now tied for the lead of the category. Co-driven by Howard Pridmore, the Chorley driver had a great run in his Kwiktrak-backed Opel Corsa S1400.
Johnnie Mackay has extended his lead in class N3 after a great performance in his ISS/Kewtech Ford Fiesta ST. Co-driven by Michael Cruickshank, the 20-year old driver from Aberdeen enjoyed a good Friday night but was a little frustrated on Saturday morning when he went out on wet weather tyres and the rain stayed away. The reigning Scottish junior champion enjoyed a good run after that to score a splendid top 10 overall Protyre Asphalt points finish – despite also being given a one-minute penalty for hitting a chicane on SS4. Mackay has also taken the lead in the Protyre Asphalt Junior standings.
Those that failed to reach the finish of a tough Argyll Rally included Peter Jackson/Paula Swinscoe who retired their GOS Heating-backed Ford Escort Mk2 with differential problems on leg one, Antony Allery/Mark Runciman didn’t finish Friday night either after putting their Escort Mk2 off into the undergrowth, Chris Ford/Matthew Daniels retired on SS4 with gearbox issues in their Ford Fiesta Rally2 and Jonathan Davies/Wayne Jones took a wheel off their Vauxhall Astra near the end of the event.
Edited action highlights and driver interviews from the Argyll Rally are available to view on the Special Stage Facebook page.
Regulations and details on how to enter the 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship are available at: asphaltrallying.com.
Membership of the BTRDA can be done online at: btrdamembership.com.
Round 4 of the 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship is the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally on Saturday 23 July.
Argyll Rally – top 10 registered 2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship finishers:
1. David Henderson/Chris (Ford Fiesta Rally2)….54mins 57secs
2. Neil Roskell/Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta R5+)….56mins 19secs
3. John Stone/Tom Woodburn (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)….59mins 31secs
4. Brad Cole/Jamie Vaughan (Ford Escort Mk2)….1hr 00mins 21secs
5. Darren Atkinson/Phil Sandham (Ford Escort Mk2)….1hr 00mins 25secs
6. Steven Ormond-Smith/Dafydd Evans (Mitsubishi Evo 9)….1hr 00mins 53secs
7. Nathan Evans/Rhys Edwards (Renault Clio 2 Cup)….1hr 02mins 32secs
8. Olly Hunter/Daniel May (Ford Escort Mk2)….1hr 02mins 55secs
9. Simon Hunter/Howard Pridmore (Opel Corsa S1400)….1hr 04mins 59secs
10. Johnnie Mackay/Michael Cruickshank (Ford Fiesta ST)….1hr 05mins 21secs
2022 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship – top 6 drivers’ overall after Round 3:
1. John Stone….75pts
2. Neil Roskell….73pts
3. Ruairi Bell….58pts
4. James Williams….57pts
5. Mark Kelly….55pts
6. Brad Cole….55pts