Although not on Craig’s schedule of events for 2011 he was quick to take the opportunity to co-drive for Peter Stewart, from Dumfries, in the usedcarparts.co.uk backed Fiesta ST when invited.
The Aberdeen-based event traditionally uses stages in the North of Angus and Kincardineshire, and, with the central service area located in Edzell, it was in many ways a “home” event for the Kirriemuir electrician.
Craig explained the circumstances.
“Crews set out their diaries early pre-season. However, occasionally an issue will mean a regular co-driver is unavailable.
“Peter found himself in this situation and I was pleased that he asked me to help out for the ‘Granite’.
“I know the Fiesta ST well so the attributes of the car were well known. Peter’s style and requirements for pace note delivery would be completely new.”
Heading away from the start in Aberdeen, the crews first headed over to Fetteresso for the first stage.
At just under seven miles it was a good opener for Craig and Peter to settle in together and find their timing for the notes.
Craig said: “We settled in quickly. Peter drives with great commitment so we had a great start, improving on our seeding by seven places in the first stage and immediately taking the class lead.”
Stage 2 saw the event head to Glenfarquar, at almost 12 miles the longest stage of the event, and perhaps one of the best, although it’s fair to say that all the stages in the area are some of the best in the country.
With no problems and the stage being completed without incident they had extended the class lead and continued to be well ahead of their seeding.
Stage 3, Drumtochty South again passed off without incident as they headed off to Central service at Edzell. With only regular checks to be carried out the almost leisurely stop gave ample opportunity for rest and refreshment and the occasional interview.
At the halfway point, Craig and Peter had taken command of the class and now sat in 30th overall, which, in a two-wheel drive car, was good work.
Craig highlighted: “Peter’s father Richard was also entered in the event in his Subaru Impreza so we enjoyed some light-hearted banter as we were still ahead of them at the break.
“Fair to say it was his first time out with the new car so Richard was taking time to get used to it. “
Stage 4 at Blackhall was short at five miles but perhaps that was a good thing. The stage was quite rough and hard on the car.
Craig’s view: “Backing off wasn’t an option but the concern of damaging the car is always there.
“We perhaps were more cautious on some of the rougher sections but I was impressed by Peter’s continuing commitment.
“The car completed the stage with some new dents in the floor but we were in good shape for the push through the last two stages.”
Stage 5 at Durris, is a great stage; 8.5 miles of fantastic rallying. They had now moved up to 26th place and the class win was theirs provided they made it through the final stage.
The final stage was a return to Fetteresso but used a different route.
Another good performance. “common sense” dictated a slightly more cautious approach. No point throwing away a class win at this point.
The return to Aberdeen and a great result, first in class and 28th overall and second front-wheel drive car.
Craig’s final thoughts on the event: “A fantastic event. I always enjoy the Granite City Rally. I am indebted to Peter Stewart and the usedcarparts.co.uk rally team for entrusting me to c0-drive on the event. We had a great day and a fine result.”