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Daniel Mc Kenna the Billy Coleman Award Winner Takes Control of the Rally Two Category in Scotland

After the 3rd round of the British Rally Championship (BRC), the Scottish Rally in Dumfries, Daniel and Co-Driver Arthur Kierans find themselves leading the Rally Two (R2) Championship by 5 points from Norwegian driver Steve Rokland and lying a magnificent 5th in the overall championship among the top R3 category drivers after finishing 1st in R2 and 8th o/a.

This is the first time the Scottish Rally has been a round of the BRC for 7 years and was a new challenge for the majority of the championship competitors including Daniel. After a very challenging Recce on the Friday, all of the crews knew that they had a very tough day rallying ahead of them as the stages where very technical but also very fast. The biggest fear however was the sharp stone surface which would most definitely cause punctures and would probably have some reckoning on the final results. Also the fact that the Scottish national rally competitors were running ahead of the BRC crews, this would cut and rut the surface up, making it an even bigger challenge.

Daniel and Arthur were happy with their Pacenotes from the Recce and after checking the notes on Friday night, they decided to start the event steady trying to avoid any punctures and build their pace as the day went on. The team and the Fiesta R2 backed by Scanbitz Ltd, Ravenol Motoroil Lubricants were prepared and ready for action.

Daniel McKenna in action in Scotland

Stage 1 early Saturday morning was a 6 mile test, the crew stuck to the game plan and set 2nd fastest time in R2, 2 seconds behind Rokland with no problems. However on the next test a 13.5 mile stage the crew encountered an unavoidable rock that had been dragged onto the racing line about 1.5 miles into the stage which created such an impact that it bent the rear axel making the car crab quite badly for the remainder of the stage. The crew still managed to set 2nd fastest R2 time on the stage but dropped 11 seconds to Rokland as the majority of the other R2 competitors were already experiencing puncture problems. Stage 3 was a short spectator stage only 0.75 miles long before the much needed service to the car. Daniel made a big effort through the test setting the 5th fastest time o/a and fastest R2 despite the mishandling car.

Then Daniel and Arthurs’s dedicated service team kicked into action replacing the rear axel and carrying out all of the other usual checks in less than 20 minutes which left the crew losing no time and held their position 2nd in R2 13 seconds off the lead.

Stage 4 and it was time for Rokland to have bad luck as near the end of the test his gearbox mounting broke and he also picked up a puncture and Daniel was 4 seconds quicker closing the gap to 9 seconds. Jon Armstrong was also having a good run and was only 6 seconds behind Daniel. Stage 5 proved to be a big turning point as Daniel had a fairly clean stage despite encountering a power steering problem near the end of the stage. Rokland was still carrying his gearbox problem and Armstrong had a puncture so Daniel had a 26 second lead at the 2nd service.

Unfortunately the service crew although they tried hard could not repair the power steering problem in the short service, so Daniel and Arthur knew they would have to carry the problem and probably drop time on the final 3 tests, but were confident of holding their position. Daniel was again quickest through stage 6, the spectator stage by 0.2 of a second from Rokland stretching his lead to 27 seconds.

On stage 7 however Rokland was on a charge and took 10 seconds out of Daniel who was being cautions with his steering problem and the gap was reduced to 17 seconds with 2 stages to go. However stage 8 was cancelled due to an accident in the national rally and it was down to the final stage for Daniel to try and hold onto the lead. The 13 mile stage was a tough and rough test to finish with but everything was going to plan for the crew until 10 miles in and disaster struck. A wishbone bolt sheared on Daniel’s Fiesta on one of the bad bumps through the stage and to add insult to injury he then picked up a left rear puncture making the car virtually un-drivable. He managed however, to scrape the car over the finish of the stage very disappointed thinking that the top result was gone. The rough terrain of the Scottish rally was to inflict a lot of trouble to almost all of the R2 competitors including Rokland as he picked up a puncture and dropped 4 minutes and dropped to 4th in the class.

This meant that Daniel and Arthur survived their final stage ordeals to take the R2 win and 8th o/a by over 2 minutes and now have a 5 point advantage over their nearest rival in the R2 category heading into the 4th round of the championship, the Ulster rally back on tarmac which would be considered a home rally for Daniel and Arthur. Daniel will let you all know how preparation are going for the Ulster rally with a pre-event press release so keep an eye on his website, Twitter and Facebook pages over the next few weeks.

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