Champs Bogie and Rae off to a flyer in Snowman Rally

REIGNING Scottish and British champions David Bogie and Hawick co-driver Kevin Rae got their season off to the best possible start with a convincing second successive victory in the Arnold Clark Thistle Hotel Snowman Rally in Inverness.

With sleet and snow showers making for treacherous conditions on the opening round of the 2012 MSA Scottish Rally Championship, Bogie powered his Mitsubishi EVO 9 through the six special stages a minute and eight seconds ahead of Mike Faulkner and Peter Foy in an EVO 6. Carlisle’s Peter Taylor, with Andrew Roughead on the notes, were third in a Ford Focus WRC.

On paper it might have looked like a comfortable win for the double champions, but in reality it was anything but, with slippery and unpredictable surfaces in the forests to the south and north of the Highland capital.

“We’re both obviously delighted. You can’t kick off your season with anything better than a win,” said Bogie.

“However, the conditions were really difficult – some of the toughest I’ve ever had to drive in. Everyone who got round this rally deserves a medal because you could get caught out so quickly. We had a couple of moments which could have put us in a ditch and ended our race. The only other frustration was the car misfiring throughout the day, but we made it to the end, so no complaints.”

The Weldex Trophy for top 2WD crew went to Alford’s Keith Robathan and Forfar navigator Iain Nichol who won the “battle of the Escorts”. They finished a fine 11th overall, 28 seconds ahead of Mk2 debutant David Wilson in a hard-earned 12th place.

Partnered by Dave Robson from Jedburgh, the Alness driver had made the switch from an EVO 9 to the recently-acquired Escort – which he had subsequently fitted with a six-speed gearbox.

Dumfries driver Richard Stewart and Kelso co-driver Carin Logan finished 25th overall in their Subaru Impreza while Duns co-driver Richard Simmonds partnered Aberdeen’s Adrian Stewart to 56th overall in a Peugeot 205.

Reflecting the high rate of attrition, there were 48 retirements, leaving 67 classified finishers.