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The Stage is set for a thrilling Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally


Some of the best rally drivers in the UK and beyond will head for Banchory near Aberdeen on Saturday as the Voyonic Grampian Forest Rally [13 August] is poised to host a spectacular battle of supremacy for top motorsport honours. Around 100 drivers will go against the clock in the super-fast gravel stages of Durris, Fetteresso and Drumtochty forests as once again the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship and KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championships go head to head for the chance to take the coveted rally win and a maximum points haul for their prospective championship campaigns. With a thrilling day of fast-paced motorsport action ahead, organisers Stonehaven and District Motor Club recently announced that spectators would once again be welcomed into the forests to witness drivers on the limit during the day, after being forced to run without fans in 2021 due to covid restrictions. The motorsport extravaganza is shaping up to be yet again one of the biggest motorsport events in the Northeast of Scotland and the contest on the stages will see drivers and their co-drivers swapping tenths of a second across the six stages and 43 competitive miles of flat-out driving. Leading the contingent away will be 2021 Grampian Forest Rally runners-up, Osian Pryce and Noel O’Sullivan who will return to the Kincardineshire forests in a bid to go one better and grab the win in their Volkswagen Polo GTi R5. Pryce is the highest placed returnee and will call on all of his previous experience to continue his British Rally Championship winning form, taking the win last time out in Wales last month. It’s Irishmen Keith Cronin and co-driver Mikie Galvin who are arguably the nearest challengers in their own Polo GTi R5. In a scintillating return to form this year, Cronin has found his form and the four-time BRC champion is aiming for a record-equalling fifth title. One win and two podiums mean he leads the series heading to Banchory. The Scottish Rally Championship is always a spectacular sight in the forests and it's David Bogie and John Rowan who will be the men with targets on their back next weekend. Bogie is often seen in a variety of machinery and started the season in a MINI JCW WRC, leading the championship in the early stages before being bumped thanks to a Scottish Rally double puncture and subsequent retirement. The Dumfries driver wheels out a Fiesta Rally2 for the second time this season and completes the top three seeds. You won’t miss Elliot Payne and Patrick Walsh’s brightly liveried Ford Fiesta Rally2 at number four, whilst Duns driver and last year’s Scottish Champion Garry Pearson starts at five with Dale Furniss alongside in their Fiesta Rally2. David Henderson and Chris Lees are aiming for a maiden Scottish Rally Championship win in their Fiesta Rally2 but will have to work hard to beat current SRC leaders Michael Binnie and Claire Mole. The Scottish Borders pairing has enjoyed a sensational season so far, hauling their older specification Mitsubishi to some incredible results. With three rounds remaining, Binnie will look to continue to rack up the points and hold onto his impressive championship position. With a blistering entry list, awash with some of the most talented drivers in the country, local drivers will have their work cut out to secure a home win. The leading homegrown driver will be Bruce McCombie in his Ford Focus WRC and the Banchory man will take his 22nd start on the rally. A long-time supporter of the event, McCombie will be co-driven by Michael Coutts; watch out for the familiar lime green Focus! Huntly driver and SRC regular John Wink brings his Hyundai i20 R5 to the event with Neil Shanks, whilst Alford’s Scott Beattie pilots his Mitsubishi Evo VII with and Peredur Davies calling the notes. The rally has also partnered with Carbon Positive Motorsport to provide carbon offsetting for all competitors and organisers' event vehicles, as part of a long-term roadmap and commitment to mitigate the event's carbon footprint. The event joins several UK events this year that have chosen as part of their environmental plans to take steps to mitigate its carbon footprint by using the high-quality UK sourced and certified carbon offsetting projects. The initiative forms the first step of a partnership that will help create an environmental road map for the event, to progressively reduce and further offset the event's footprint. Local carbon offsetting projects based in the Highlands and Tayside, which have been developed together with their offsetting partner Highland Carbon will be used to provide the events offsetting. Fans are well catered for both on and off the stages with plenty of opportunities to catch the cars in action and up close. Banchory hosts the Ceremonial Start on Saturday morning, taking place in the public car park just off the B974 from around 08:40. Onlookers will have the chance to chat to the drivers and get up close and personal to the cars before they head out into the forests for the day. The Zenith Energy Durris test hosts the opening stage of the event and the first of two spectator areas on the stages. Accessed from Denside, south of the B9077 near Crathes, the area enjoys catering and facilities alongside a fast and sweeping section of the stage which offers great viewing and is run twice during the day. The first stage kicks off from around 09:00 with the second pass at 14:45. Stages three and six at the John Wink Design Finglenny house the second location, with easy access off the A957 just north of Rickarton before a drive into the forest to the spectator parking. Also with catering and facilities, this spot overlooks a more technical section of the stage, with competitors having to negotiate a bridge and tight left-hander in front of the spectator area. Be in place for 12:00 for the first run and 15:10 for the second. The ceremonial finish and traditional champagne spray will take place at Milton of Crathes from around 16:15 where the winner of the event will be crowned. Each spectator area requires a £10 cash donation to the local charities manning the area. More information including spectator access maps, entry list and timings will be available on the event website in the coming days. Event updates, results and live footage from the stages will be broadcast across the event’s social media channels during the day. -ENDS

For more information on Voyonic Crew Management Group, please visit: https://www.voyoniccrew.com/ For more information on the British Rally Championship, please visit: www.britishrallychampionship.co.uk

For more information on the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship, please visit: www.scottishrallychampionship.co.uk

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