Col to Col, the peaks and troughs of another day leading into the night
Kevin Haselden and Ryan Pickering extend lead in the Mini Cooper S
Crews we’re still buzzing after their late night-time Control section
Reliant Scimitar drops from the podium positions
The Mini Cooper S crew of Kevin Haselden and Ryan Pickering have so far proved to have the edge over the field of overall winners, as they now have a lead over Klaus Mueller and Rolf Pellini’s Lancia Fulvia of over three minutes. Klaus and Rolf pulled back a little bit of time but will need a big effort or Mini problems to take the lead.
The team of Haselden and Pickering are carrying on where they left off in John O’Groats last December when they scooped Gold Medals together, proving to be a great combination in the same car. Despite the odd miss, when many are missing lots on this most challenging of red-coded events, this crew must now hold their nerve on the final day if they are to embrace the special Winter Challenge toMonte Carlo trophy in the Principality on Thursday evening. In fact, the Haselden Pickering duo enjoyed a storming morning with the least amount of penalties on just 20 seconds.
Setting a storming pace out front on the unofficial leaderboard are still Paul Bloxidge and Ian Canavan, demonstrating their class as former champions. They lost a minute today due to trip issues which the mechanical assistance crews helped fix at the lunch halt today as connections to the rear of the VW Golf GTi of probes and sensors were sorted. Paul and Ian lead class five by miles and unofficially, lead Kevin and Ryan by nearly three minutes.
Richard Prosser and Peter Blackett have dropped out of the podium position they have held for two days after issues, however, they are still holding fourth overall, a valiant effort from Richard and Peter who are chipping off the rust fast after a long layoff!
Dave Maryon and Andy Ballantyne now move to third in their MGB after climbing back up the field since they were beached in the snow on Leg Two. The duo have been clicking together, Andy typically finding a very tricky hidden right turn down a small track to the control at the end of regularity six at Castellane. Even the Maestro Ryan Pickering missed that one – briefly.
Moving up to fourth overall on the leader board but second in class for the actual awards, Angus McQueen and Mike Cochrane have been pressing on despite a few brushes with walls and their BMW 323i being reversed into last night. Most were still buzzing after the two regularities and the Time Control section deep into the night of Leg Three, Klaus Mueller and Pete Johnson loved it.
Pete Johnson is driving a Golf GTi with owner Phil Phil Cottam alongside. Pete was recently crowned champion navigator and received his coveted Golden Roamer Award at the RAC Club in London only a few weeks ago – he explains below why he jumped seats, the crew are lying ninth on the unofficial leader board and third in class five.
The scenery as the rally ran from Col to Col, from the deep troughs of the valleys to the peaks, was simply stunning. Roads punctuated by snow and ice away from the sun were still to be treated with caution or tail out fun depending on the drop at the side of the road.