The first rally in an R5 Rally Car produced a first ever fastest overall time for Garry Pearson on Saturday at the Arnold Clark/Jurys Inn Snowman Rally, the first round of the 2016 ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship.
The extremely difficult conditions lead to many problems for the competitors, spectators and organisers. The crews that came out on top probably had a little local information as to when to fit snow tyres and when to drop back down the running order.
Stage 1 was not an easy way to get confidence in a new car for Garry Pearson from Duns with the first half covered in snow and the second half – a layer of snow on top of thick ice, however he was extremely happy with a fifth fastest.
The conditions on Stage 2 were a lot better with only short stretches which had a layer of snow, however the tyres that Garry and Co-Driver Robbie Mitchell also from Duns used were perfect and they recorded their first ever Fastest Stage Time, 8 seconds quicker than their next fastest which promoted them to third overall going into the first service.
Stages three and four was where the local information proved extremely valuable with some crews fitting snow tyres and some dropped back down the running order. However, Pearson spun twice in Stage 4 losing around 40 seconds and dropping back to 5th.
The final 10.92-mile stage for most was tackled in blizzard conditions with poor visibility, this stage was eventually stopped for the safety of spectators and the second half of the field.
Garry was very pleased to hold onto fifth place in the RSC Ford Fiesta and bag some valuable championship points, he is hoping that the track conditions on the next round will be more conducive to gravel rallying so he can utilise the car’s capabilities to the full.