Banchory driver gears up for rally finale

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ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship (SRC) contender Fred Milne will pilot two different cars for the closing rounds of the series.

The former Mitsubishi driver will be switching to a Subaru Impreza S12B WRC for the upcoming Grampian Forest Rally.

The Banchory driver is a familiar sight on SRC rounds in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and Milne will revert back to the popular marque for the final round at the Galloway Hills Rally.

The Lancer in question will however be a different one to the car that has brought Milne up to sixth overall in the championship, with Milne building a new and lighter car for next season’s SRC.

“I’m happy right now as I am enjoying my rallying and not forking out huge costs. “ explained Milne.

“But at the same time I’m frustrated as we haven’t really improved from last year.

“What’s changed is that last year every single stage we were like ‘oh jeez, almost binned it there,’ whereas now I’ve tried to reign it back, keep it on the road and minimise repair costs.

“I damned myself to start with by trying too hard which led to me crashing cars so that’s why I’ve now gravitated towards the softly-softly catchy-monkey approach now.

“The Scottish Championship is definitely what I want to do.

“It’s difficult to win but the competition is so much fiercer than the likes of the BTRDA.”

“I’m currently building a new car, another Evo IX, starting with a brand new shell which will hopefully be faster than the current one.

“I was hoping to have it ready for the Grampian but that’s looking unlikely now... but I’ll definitely be out with it on the Galloway Hills which will be a good gauge of things to come next year.

“It’s going to be a lot better spec than Barry [Groundwater’s] old one we are using just now.

“It’s full international spec so quite heavy, a full 200kg heavier than [Mike] Faulkner’s, [Greg] McKnight’s and [Mark] McCulloch’s cars, and doesn’t have a Group A restrictor or a bigger manifold it’s basically standard.

“On the plus side however, I haven’t spent a penny on it all year, just tyres and fuel.”

The plan was to use the outgoing Mitsubishi on the Grampian, Milne’s home event, but the opportunity to hire an Impreza WRC from Melvyn Evans, particularly when brother Quintin will be out in another Subaru, was too good to pass up.

“It’s always been a dream of mine since I was very young to do my home event in a Subaru WRC, mainly because of Colin McRae.

“This is a one-off treat for me, I know I won’t be able to drive it as fast as the likes of Dave Weston but as long as I’m faster than I am in the Evo I’ll be happy.

“I know the WRC is not going to give me three seconds a mile so I doubt I’ll be mixing it at the front, but if I can keep up with my brother in the S14 I’ll be more than happy.”

For round six of this year’s championship, Patrick Walsh will sit alongside Milne for the second time this year.

The 2017 ARR Craib MSA Scottish Rally Championship consists of seven forest events across the whole of Scotland, taking in over 300 competitive stage miles.

The next round of the SRC is the Grampian Forest Rally, Aberdeenshire on Saturday, August 12.