Alastair Fisher produced a mature drive on the RSAC Scottish Rally to take his first-ever MSA British Rally Championship win.
Five years after making his debut in the championship, Fisher finally made his first trip into the top step of the podium after emerging victorious from an event-long battle with Tom Cave and championship leader Jukka Korhonen.
The victory moves Fisher, who juggles his BRC commitments with an entry in the WRC3 series, up to second in the championship standings at the halfway mark of the 2013 campaign, just five points behind Korhonen.
“It has been a long time coming, but I’m delighted to be on the top step of the podium at last,” said Fisher at the event finish. “We should have won several times in the past although it isn’t the first outright win for me and Gordy (Noble), we have won an event at home before.”
It proved a three horse race for the rally from start-to-finish, with Fisher, Cave and Korhonen sharing all the fastest and second fastest stage times between them.
Cave took the honours on the opening stage, but his time at the top was short lived, with a fastest time on SS2 moving Fisher to the top of the leaderboard. Korhonen lost over ten seconds to his rivals on stage two, but on SS3 it was his turn to go quickest, the Finn replicating the feat on SS4 as he chased his third consecutive BRC win.
Cave beat Fisher on SS3 to leave the two tied at the top of the leaderboard with the exact same time, with the Welshman then edging ahead by 0.1 seconds after SS4. Once again his time on top didn’t last long though as Fisher went quickest on SS5 to retake the event lead by 4.5 seconds, an advantage he stretched on SS6 by a couple of tenths.
SS7 proved to be the turning point of the rally for Cave, his challenge for the win running out of steam as he lost eleven seconds to stage winner Fisher, with his focus now left to fending off Korhonen for second.
The championship leader closed to within three seconds of Cave, and after SS8 was cancelled following an incident for a BRC challenge competitor, he went on to win SS9 to grab second at the death. Cave was left to settle for third, while no dramas for Fisher ensured he picked the event victory.
Best of the rest for much of the rally were reigning Pirelli Star Driver Mark Donnelly and John MacCrone. The duo fought over fourth place for much of the event, with Donnelly holding the place for the first four stages before MacCrone fought his way in front.
The Scotsman held the position until the end, extending his advantage to over fifty seconds at the finish, with Donnelly slipping back to sixth on the final stage, Jonny Greer nipping ahead by 3.1 seconds at the finish.
As has been the story all season in the BRC, it was once again a Citroen DS3 R3 dominated event, with the French supermini holding the top six places at the finish. With no other manufacturer registered for points, the result further extended Citroen UK’s lead at the top of the Manufacturers championship.
Joe McGonigle was the quickest of the non-Citroen runners in seventh, the Irishman enjoying a consistent run in his Renault Clio R3, while eighth overall was the RallyTwo class winner Daniel McKenna.
A solid drive throughout the event earned McKenna the class win for the second consecutive event, the Irishman having benefitted from a gearbox problem for early class leader Steve Rokland, the Norwegian eventually finishing fourth in class.
The top ten was rounded out by the Citroen DS3 R3’s of Callum Black and Brendan Cumiskey, the former having suffered a couple of punctures through the day, while eleventh overall and second in Rally Two was Ruary MacLeod, a strong performance from the Scotsman earning him the Pirelli Star Driver nomination for the weekend.
Osian Pryce was the event’s highest profile retirement, the Welshman retiring on the opening stage with a recurrence of a gearbox hydraulic issue. Alex Parpottas crashed out on SS2, while Garry Pearson retired with a mechanical issue on SS5.
Provisional RSAC Scottish Rally BRC Results:
|1||Alastair Fisher||Gordon Noble||Citroen DS3 R3||0:59:51.9|
|2||Jukka Korhonen||Marko Salminen||Citroen DS3 R3||1:00:06.4||+ 0:00:14.5|
|3||Tom Cave||Ieuan Thomas||Citroen DS3 R3||1:00:17.1||+ 0:00:25.2|
|4||John MacCrone||Phil Pugh||Citroen DS3 R3||1:01:23.9||+ 0:01:32.0|
|5||Jonathan Greer||Jonny Hart||Citroen DS3 R3||1:02:14.1||+ 0:02:22.2|
|6||Mark Donnelly||Dai Roberts||Citroen DS3 R3||1:02:17.2||+ 0:02:25.3|
|7||Joseph McGonigle||Macartan Kierans||Renault Clio R3||1:02:54.8||+ 0:03:02.9|
|8||Daniel McKenna||Arthur Kierans||Ford Fiesta R2||1:04:04.7||+ 0:04:12.8|
|9||Callum Black||James Morgan||Citroen DS3 R3||1:05:10.1||+ 0:05:18.2|
|10||Brendan Cumiskey||Conor Foley||Citroen DS3 R3||1:05:36.4||+ 0:05:44.5|
|11||Ruary MacLeod||Drew Sturrock||Ford Fiesta R2||1:06:09.4||+ 0:06:17.5|
|12||Timothy Cathcart||Phil Clarke||Ford Fiesta R2||1:07:24.6||+ 0:07:32.7|