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SPEYSIDE 2008 REPORT

Car 66, Don Murray and Andy Philip had another largely uneventful run in the Tim Finch Rallyesport prepared NessRallySport Subaru Impreza, to 42nd overall, and 14th in class in only our fourth outing in the car, and the first time having sat in it since April.
 
The rewiring job on the car, which started back in February, was completed prior to this event. That brought its own degree of apprehension as we were unsure of whether everything had been bolted back together again properly. However, our concerns were unfounded and the car behaved all day.
 
The Speyside Stages was a new event to both driver and co-driver. Don had started the event previously, but having lost a wheel after the first 2 spectator stages had no experience of the forests, where the bulk of the action would take place. The opening spectator stages at Cooper Park are short, but require maximum concentration as the stage is lined by a high kerb that will do significant damage to the unwary. We had no tarmac wheels or tyres so ran on the damp tarmac with gravel tyres instead. Not an ideal combination, but the time lost was of no significance at the end of the day.
 
Off then into 6 forest tests in all, and although slippery in many places, and ready to catch those not yet fully awake, we managed to negotiate our way through them all, without incident. Again our confidence grew in the car as the day progressed and we set our best times on the last 2 stages and really got into a good rhythm.
 
At the start of the day we set ourselves an objective of finishing in the top 50, with top 45 being aspirational, given the strength and depth in the field and our relative lack of experience overall and in this car in particular. To finish 42nd was an acceptable result and sees our progress continue. The best way to gain experience is time in the car and 4 finishes now from 4 starts is a commendable record for our first season with it.
 
The car is now back in Carlisle and is likely to have some suspension tweaks prior to the next event, and will possible run with a different wheel and tyre set up to improve stability and traction.
 
Thanks again to Tim Finch and his boys who prepped the car. Tim was not available to support us on the day, so we are grateful to Chris and Warren for making the long trip north and making us feel like a works team all day. Final thanks again to Ness Properties and Macritchie Highland Distribution for their financial support of our efforts, without which we’d have been out spectating instead!
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