The RSAC Scottish Rally will blast back into action on Saturday 22 July, as the event relocates to its new home at Dalbeattie.
Relocating to the `Granite Town` of south-west Scotland, new stages have been introduced that have not been seen on the Scottish Rally before. The atmospheric Ae Forest still features, but the event will also be taking in stages in Kinharvie and Dalbeattie Forests. There has been a lot of work behind the scenes between the event organisers and Forest and Land Scotland to ensure that all stages are in excellent condition.
There is also a new service park and event HQ hosted by Jas P Wilson Forest Machinery at Dalbeattie. This is a location which has the space and facilities that are needed to give the event the infrastructure it needs.
For the twenty-sixth time, the rally will be supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council. It’s understood to be the longest-running partnership between a rally and a local authority anywhere in Britain. It forms one of the Council’s seven signature events, which cover everything from the Big Burns Supper to arts festivals, and other major sports events such as the Tour of Britain and World Championship Ice Hockey.
Competing crews will head out to tackle 43 miles of gravel, spread across three stages – run twice. There will be a regroup near Dalbeattie Town Centre at around Midday to split the rally. The event route will also pass through the town centre. Offering the opportunity for fans to get up close and personal to the cars and crews, the town will also welcome the winners back later in the day for the now traditional champagne spray and finish celebrations.
As well as a stellar entry for the KNC Groundworks Scottish Rally Championship, the event will also mark a “Diamond Jubilee” of sorts. The Land Rovers of the UK Armed Forces Rally Team (UKAFRT) are always an exciting and welcome addition to the rally. 2023 marks 60 years since the first competitors of the then, British Army Motorsport Association (BAMA) made an appearance at the Scottish Rally. Always entertaining and highly competitive in their own championship, the Scottish Rally is proud of this long-running association with our armed forces rally colleagues. To mark the occasion, the Land Rovers will be running with special “diamond” door decals and the Dalbeattie stage has been named for both BAMA and the UKAFRT.
Clerk of the Course, Jonathan Lord and his team have been working hard to create an event worthy of its long-running history: “The organising team have been working very hard behind the scenes to create a fantastic event for crews and fans alike, and we have made several changes from last year thanks to the feedback received from competitors.”
“Our recent route survey and changes to the format of stages have ensured that we only use some of the best quality forests available to us and they are in prime condition to welcome our crews to the amazing forest roads our region offers.”
Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee said: “The Scottish Rally is a much loved event both locally and nationally, and it’s sure to go from strength to strength in the scenic surrounds and forests of the Stewartry area of Dumfries and Galloway. It is really encouraging to hear of the high numbers of entries for 2023, which is to the credit of RSAC Motorsport in these challenging economic times. Dumfries and Galloway is a special place for rallying. The forests provide the natural terrain, and there is a celebrated history of fine drivers and rallies in the region.”
Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of the Communities Committee added: “For exhilarating live sport, it is hard to beat the Scottish Rally for excitement and heart-in-the-mouth tension. The Council is fully committed to delivering the Dumfries and Galloway Events Strategy 2023-2027, and the rally is one of our stand-out events that provides a great day out for many local people and visitors.”
Previous winners of the event include World Rally Championship legends such Colin McRae, Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola and Stig Blomqvist. Dumfries driver David Bogie made history in 2021 by winning the event for a record-breaking seventh time, piloting his MINI JCW WRC, winning by almost a minute.
More information and full results can be found on the official rally website: www.scottishrally.co.uk
Keep up to date with event information via social media: www.facebook.com/scottishrally and www.twitter.com/scottishrally