Škoda has won the RACMSA Rally of Scotland for the second year running, thanks to a superb drive by Juho Hänninen/Mikko Markkula in their Fabia S2000 Facelift. It was the Škoda Motorsport crew’s third win in this year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and the result confirms Hänninen as IRC Drivers’ Champion – having never finished outside the top three all season. It also completes the IRC double for Škoda, who are IRC Manufacturers’ Champions.
Škoda UK Motorsport crew Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh retired from the lead of the event on Day 1, and the team repaired the transmission on Saturday evening to allow Guy to entertain the crowd with a stunning driving display on Day 2 – even though they would not be classified in the final results. Last year’s Rally of Scotland winners were the stars of the final day, setting fastest time on three of the four stages to emphasise what could have been, had their first mechanical-enforced retirement of 2010 not intervened.
For his outstanding performance in Scotland, Guy received the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy. He was presented with the award by Jimmy McRae, who is part of the three-man judging panel, which also includes Gilbert Roy (Eurosport) and Jean-Pierre Nicolas (IRC).
Hänninen began Day 2 with an 11.1 second lead, and took time out of second placed Andreas Mikkelsen (Ford Fiesta S2000) on each of the final day’s four stages to win by 25.5 seconds.
Guy Wilks: “Day 1 was quite fraught. Retiring from the lead of my home event was a bigdisappointment. We had high hopes of a win here and laid down a marker on the first night at Scone Palace and on the opening forestry stages. Everything looked very good, but it just wasn’t to be. It was a case of what could have been.
“We decided very early on to come out and do Day 2, because there are a lot of spectators here, the rally was live on Eurosport, we wanted to continue to support the event and we enjoy driving over these fantastic stages. Škoda UK Motorsport did a great job to repair the car and it was perfect today. We obviously didn’t want to throw the car off the road, but we wanted to set some good times, show off the car and show the spirit of rallying.
“Even though we weren’t going to feature in the results, this has been one of the best day’s rallying I’ve ever had – topped off by winning the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy. That’s a great accolade and something very special to take away from this rally, especially as Jimmy McRae was part of the judging panel. It’s a great honour.
“For a number of years Phil has enabled me to set top stage times, and this award is for both of us. He was absolutely on the button today.
“The Scottish stages are spectacular to drive and a real credit to the organising committee. They have uncovered every rock to make sure the stages ran smooth – I didn’t win, congratulations to Juho on doing that, but it was still a great rally.”
Rally of Scotland results
1. Juho Hänninen/ Mikko Markkula (Škoda Fabia S2000)…2hrs 01mins 07.4secs
2. Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Floene (Ford Fiesta S2000)…+25.5secs
3. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Peugeot 207 S2000)…+ 3mins 24.2secs
4. David Bogie/Kevin Rae (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)…+12mins 01.3secs
5. Karl Kruuda/Martin Järveoja (Suzuki Swift S1600)…+14mins 07.6secs
6. Siim Plangi/Marek Sarapuu (Honda Civic Type R3)…+14mins 39.0secs
7. Eamonn Boland/MJ Morissey Rae (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X)…+16mins 38.8secs
8. Burcu Cetinkaya /Ciçek Guney (Peugeot 207 S2000)…+ 16mins 56.1secs
9. Harry Hunt/Sebastian Marshall (Ford Fiesta R2)…+21mins 39.5secs
10. Daniel Barry/Martin Brady (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)…+23mins 46.5secs
IRC points (Drivers’) after Round 11
1. Juho Hänninen…62pts CHAMPION
2. Jan Kopecký…47pts
3. Kris Meeke…39pts
4. Freddy Loix…36pts
5. Bruno Magalhaes…30pts
6. Guy Wilks…27pts
IRC points (Manufacturers’) after Round 11
1. Škoda…120pts CHAMPIONS