Scottish BRC Success for Torquay’s Chris Wheeler
The RSAC Scottish Rally is Round 4 of this year’s MSA British Rally Championship, one of the roughest events on the calendar meaning man and machine take on a very fast and bumpy ride over an incredibly abrasive gravel surface. 22-year-old Chris Wheeler and co-driver Yan Griffiths played their joker round on this event meaning that wherever they were to finish, their points would be doubled, a great opportunity to take the championship lead.
Eight stages lay ahead. With 65 competitive stage miles through the forests, massive drops and ditches on either side and big rocks which could all cause big damage, keeping the car on the road and staying out of trouble would be the aim for Wheeler. On Stage One, 6.6 miles long, the crew set off but took it steady. This was the first time Chris has driven the DS3 R3T in eight weeks meaning it would take a little bit of time to get back to full pace.
On the previous event the car had massive handling issues so not only is this Wheeler’s first time driving the car in eight weeks but also the first time driving the car at full pace. This made things very interesting. As each stage went by the pace increased and the times started coming together, Chris climbing up the leader board and adapting to the car; the event started looking up for the crew.
Conditions throughout the day were very unpredictable; the weather had spots of rain and with a possible storm turning up who knew what the stages would be like by the time the teams left service & got up to the forests?
Due to unfortunate accidents, the Rally got delayed and eventually the Rally ended up running three hours behind schedule; the whole rally from start to finish ran a total of thirteen hours making tiredness another part of the event.
After Stage Five, Wheeler and Griffiths lead their category and were putting in much better stage times. Stage Seven would be cancelled due to the surface becoming far to rough to compete on leaving just two stages to go. After putting in a great time on Stage Six this left just Stage Eight to go, 10.6 miles between Chris and the finishing line. This stage was extremely tricky and was like driving on marble; each mile was counting down and before you knew it Chris crossed the finish line and the celebrations for the Torquay driver could begin.
A fantastic result which collecting the team their much needed joker round points. Back at the ceremonial finish, Chris and Yan crossed the official finish line and the champagne sprayed. A very delighted team cheered them on as they crossed with Wheeler now in the lead of the BRC 3 class, lining them up perfectly for the Nicky Grist 100 Rally on the 9/10 July.
Sadly, a crash in Wales prior to the Nicky Grist stages would put Chris and Yan in hospital and end the team’s season. Best of wishes for a speedy recovery for both of them from Sport South Devon.