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The NessRallySport Team of Don Murray and Andy Philip had a fraught return to competition on the Gleaner Oil and Gas Speyside Stages Rally at the weekend, after having missed most of this season for a variety of reasons.

Their plans faltered badly on the Friday evening when a borrowed service van gave up the ghost 130 miles south of the event, requiring the rally car to be driven to the event, but with the minimum of spares. This meant doing Cooper Park on gravel tyres, but the crew were delighted just to get out of the park following last year’s early retirement after only 1 mile of competitive driving.

Stage 3 saw the alternator belt come off the pulley, which then left them without power steering for 2 stages, and a slow puncture early in stage 4 added to their woes. Stage 5 was then cancelled, so it was only on stages 6, 7 and 8 that the crew could really try and get back into it, only to find that the turbo was running on half boost.

Having lost so much time earlier in the day a climb from the low 90s to finish in 68th place overall was about all they could expect. Don said,

“We were both very disappointed with our times, but were none the less happy to get another finish. We really enjoyed the stages and felt we were driving the car as hard as it would go, but it seemed well down on power and having no power steering for two stages made it very hard to handle.”

The car is now to be fitted with a new turbo and exhaust prior to the next event, and the crew hope to be out on the Merrick Rally in Newton Stewart in early September.

Thanks as always to Macritchie Highland Distribution, Signed-Graphics, Ness Properties and Tim Finch of TF Rallyesport.

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