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Car 229, Don Murray and Andy Philip had their 5th finish from 6 starts this season on the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally around Perth, in the Tim Finch Rallyesport prepared NessRallySport Subaru Impreza. 

However, the day was not without its frustrations. The event runs with the 4 wheel drive cars at the back of the field, and with a massive entry of 110 front wheel drive cars it left Don and Andy running as the 138th car on the road, in some really rough conditions. Don said;- 

“We were really looking forward to this event, after having raised our game on the last two outings, and having had time spent on the car setting up the tracking and geometry, as well as spending a lot of money of some brand new tyres. However, less than a mile into the first stage it was clear that all was not right with the car. There was virtually no grip at all, and on the long straights it wanted to jump sideways all the time. Added to that the roads were strewn with rocks the size of breeze blocks, so it didn’t make for a fun event!” 

With no service available until after the first 3 stages the team backed right off, and drove in survival mode. A closer inspection at service revealed that the front suspension had become deranged after an impact with a rock very early in the first stage, which also split a tyre casing and a rear damper had broken as well, which was the cause of the handling woes. It was not possible to effect repairs at service, so the team set off for the last 2 stages with the aim of just nursing the car through. In the end the last stage was cancelled, and they were eventually classified as 77th overall, out of the 100 finishers. Don said afterwards;- 

“A disappointing end to our gravel rally season, but what a buzz to be on the same entry list as some of the heroes that I used to watch 25 years ago. Given our mechanical woes of last season we can only be delighted to have had the car run faultlessly all year, and the only non finish was when we threw it off the road. We will do some more work on the car over the winter, and think about what sort of program of events we want to put together for next year”. 

The car is now back in Carlisle and the last outing of 2008 may be a visit to Crail for the last round of the Scottish Tarmack Rally Championship. 

Thanks again to Tim Finch and his boys who prepped the car, and to Tim, Warren and Adam who came up to service us on the day. It really has been a great season and the car has been superb all year and that can only be down to the hard work these guys have done. 

Final thanks again to Ness Properties and Macritchie Highland Distribution for their financial support of our efforts throughout the season.

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