Stevie Brown and co-driver Jack Morton used willpower rather than horsepower when they had to push their stricken Subaru Impreza across the finish line of the Coltel Granite City Rally, and remarkably the Scottish Sun-backed team still finished 12th.
The third round of the Scottish Rally Championship would see 102 teams arrive at rally HQ at Thainstone Mart, Inverurie for the rally start on Saturday morning. With the first stage of the event cancelled due to safety reasons, the rally would start from stage two, and the Dunlop Tyres-backed team started the day with a strong performance, completing the seven mile test 8th fastest. “I’m happy with the time” said Stevie at the stage end. He continues, “We were a little bit too sideways in places, but it’s really tight for time, we’re only four seconds off third place at the moment, so we need to keep pushing on the next stage.”
While stage two featured fast flowing sections, stage three was narrow and slippery as the road twisted and turned over the six mile route. “Our set-up for that stage was wrong, the car is just too stiff” said Stevie who struggled to find traction. At the mid day service halt the Global Web-backed team were in tenth position. With only two stages remaining, Brown set out to make up for the time lost, and as they pushed on through the penultimate test they slid wide on a corner, and for a heart stopping moment it looked like their event could be stopped in its tracks. “We were too fast into a sequence of corners and slid wide into a ditch. We maybe lost about four or five seconds” explained Jack.
The final stage of the event would provide the NRP Sign Writing supported team with one of the biggest challenge of the rally. At 13 miles long it was the longest stage of the day, and with positions fourth through to tenth separated by less than 30 seconds, everything was still to play for. Brown launched in to the final stage, determined to make every mile count, but just three quarters of a mile before the finish the centre differential blew up, leaving the car with no drive. With the final part of the stage down hill, the Subaru slowly rolled down to cross the finish line. “We were relying on gravity to get us to the finish – but we were literally rolling down the hill at walking speed, it was really frustrating watching the time just disappear” explained Stevie.
The crew quickly worked on the car at the roadside and did whatever it took to reach the final time control. Brown and Morton nursed the car on the final road section, mile after mile they tiptoed along the road in a bid to reach the end of the event. But with just 800 yards to the finish the transmission finally gave up, this time permanently and Stevie and Jack were forced to push the car the rest of the way. As the pair struggled to push the stricken car the final few yards, they were helped by a group of spectators to finally cross the finish line.
“I’ve never had to work so hard to get to the end of a rally” reflected Stevie. He continues, “I’ve really enjoyed today even with the problems, and I really can’t thank our team enough for helping us reach the finish – its been a lot of work but getting to the end makes it worth it!”.
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