Finland’s Juho Hanninen produced a champion’s drive to see off the opposition and win the 2010 RACMSA Rally of Scotland this afternoon (Sunday 17 October), although there was drama further behind on the final day of the event.
Hanninen’s victory, his third of the season, was the perfect way to celebrate having been recently crowned the 2010 IRC Champion. Having sprayed the victory champagne at Stirling Castle’s Ceremonial Finish, the 29-year-old commented: “Even with Guy and Kris’s problems yesterday, I knew the rally was far from over – Andreas was driving very well and staying close behind. But on the penultimate stage today I decided to attack. I knew we still had to go through the Loch Ard stage again at the end which is very long and can cause some problems – I wanted some breathing space so I could just take it a little bit easier and it worked out. I’m very happy with this result because this is a fantastic rally.”
Mikkelsen, just 21, added: “Going into today I really wanted to keep up a certain speed so Juho couldn’t go on cruise mode. But then he put in a really fast time on the penultimate stage and the gap was out to 20 seconds. Then I knew really I had no chance unless something really strange happened. But this is still a very big result for me and I’ve really enjoyed driving these stages – very fast with a lot of flat out sections over the crests and when you get those right it’s a very special feeling.”
Although Wilks was forced to retire from the event yesterday, he – along with Scottish hero Alister McRae – returned to action today under ‘Superally’ rules so as to at least put on a show for the public. And nor did he disappoint, the 2009 winner setting the pace on both runs through the fearsome 30km Loch Ard stage with some sensational driving and demonstrating what might have been had he enjoyed a trouble-free rally. Fittingly, his spirited performance earned him the event’s ‘Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy’ – among the judges who voted for him was the late rallying legend McRae’s father Jimmy, himself a former great of the sport.
For more on the Rally visit www.rallyofscotland.com