Auust 14, 2023
The Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally 2023 will go down in history as a classic thriller that showcased the incredible level of speed and close competition amongst its leading drivers.
The event had everything, fantastic organisation, wonderful stages, high speed, sublime driving skills, incidents and a nail-biting thrilling rally that lasted right until the final stage.
88 competitors featured in this thriller, that would unwind over 6 special stages, and lead to a result where the top 5 drivers were only separated by 9 seconds after a full day of rallying.
In the event's second year of partnership with Carbon Positive Motorsport. almost half the entry chose to support their environmental roadmap, by offsetting their competition-based carbon emissions. Aditionally, this year all the organisers’ vehicles were also being offset for the event day.
Carbon Positive Motorsport brand ambassadors Jock Armstrong and Hannah McKillop were in high spirits after their recent Scottish Rally success. Leading the field away, and after some typically fully committed driving, they eventually finished third, five seconds off the winner.
Finlay Reston and Paul Beaton continued their impressive form. Competing with their carbon emissions offset, they set out with equal fastest on the first stage. They were to be rewarded with 4th place.
Joining those offsetting were Michael Binnie and Emily Easton Page, who was co-driving with Michael for the first time. Leading the rally early on, they suffered a challenging day throughout, and suffered a heartbreaking roll in the penultimate stage, which lead to their retirement.
John Wink and Neil Shanks kept local hopes alive throughout the event. Considered by many to be overdue a maiden Scottish Rally Championship victory, John and Neil put a lot of effort into their stage notes to give it their best shot. Running as high as second place during the rally, they went on to end the event in 5th place, only 9 seconds away from the winner.
Like John Wink, another event sponsor who was competing and offsetting was Barry Groundwater, together with Sean Donnelly in their immaculate Polo, who finished a fine 31st overall.
Another local on the event was current Scottish Ladies Rally Champion Aillen Forrest, co-driven by John Forrest. Aileen went on to finish top Ladies driver, after an event that she felt was tricky and very slippy in places.
In the final scene of the Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally, it was David Henderson and Chris Lees who went on to secure a deserved win, their second of the season. Their victory sets up the championship for a thrilling final two rounds, with the next instalment of this exciting season is the Armstrong Group Galloway Hills Rally on September 16th.
All photo credits thanks to Martin Cullen
Carbon Positive Motorsport director Paul Glass commented after after the event, "I think today’s event had everything you could ask of a day of superb rallying, and really shows the quality and depth of competition that exists in the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship.
"I was especially interested to see the success of using the stages to host spectators for the whole day in one complex. This really helps to reduce a event's carbon footprint, and with the great facilities put on by the organisers in the stages and service park which featured a big screen with live broadcasts, the rally really offered a great showcase of what our sport can offer competitors and the public."
Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally: Top 10 Results
1. David Henderson / Chris Lees Ford Fiesta Rally2 42:52
2. Mark McCulloch / Michael Hendry Proton Satria Evo S2000 42:55 +3
3. Jock Armstong / Hannah MacKillop Subaru Impreza 42:57 +5
4. Finlay Retson / Paul Beaton Ford Fiesta Rally2 42:59 +7
5. John Wink / Neil Shanks Hyundai i20 R5 43:01 +9
6. Elliot Payne / Tom Woodburn Ford Fiesta Rally2 44:00 +1:08
7. Stephen Petch / Michael Wilkinson Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 44:19 +1:27
8. Bruce McCombie / Michael Coutts Ford Fiesta R5 44:25 +1:33
9. Hugh Brunton / William Sturrock Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 44:27 +1:35
10. Scott Beattie / Wyn Peredur Davies Ford Fiesta R5 44:31 +1:39
More results at ewrc.com
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