Mini Sport at Tour of Mull 2011
Last week a huge percent of the British Rallying community migrated to the small Island of Mull in the Bute & Argyll region of Scotland, just off the west coast. Mini Sport was no different with half our Rally fleet making the journey north.
The event is held annually, every October and has been for over fourty years! It is a popular event that is often described as “the best rally in the world” with the idyllic hills and coasts of Mull providing some exciting driving conditions. The roads are often narrow and winding and with most of the stages being held at night or dusk, it is no surprise that the event is often won by an islander. In fact the last non-islander to win the event was Mini Sports Daniel Harper in 2002. However this was done in a Mitsubishi Evolution 6 and Daniel has now turned his attention to winning the event in a MINI.
The last few years have provided lots of ups and downs as Daniel has battled to get the MINI into winning condition. And this year was no different with plenty of work being focused not only on Daniels MINI but the rest of the Mini Sport Rally Team too.
Going into the Rally hopes were high, with Daniel seeded 5th, behind islanders and previous winners Calum Duffy and Paul MacKinnon who between them have reached double figures in wins. There was 117 entries this year, leaving plenty of racing for spectators to enjoy, although in the end half of these entries retired for one reason or another, including several front runners and last years winner Calum Duffy due to a gearbox failure.
Daniel started well, finishing 7th on the 1st stage before dropping to 26th on only the 2nd stage after an electrical fault left him without any lights, leaving some catching up to be done. Daniel then proceeded to gradually work his way up the order and found himself back up to 6th place after a long stage 9.
The remaining 10 stages after this became a tight affair with some competitive driving. Daniel Harper with co-driver Chris Campbell did manage to pick off a few more people though and even won the last stage to snatch himself a podium pace, behind Paul MacKinnon who claimed yet another win in his Subaru Impreza WRC and another islander, James MacGillivray who followed in second.
As for our other entry, John Cressey with son Martin (seeded 14th) he got off to a good start too but finished the rally prematurely in stage 4 with a clutch problem.
Overall this is a great result for Mini Sport and is the best result yet in the MINI and although we are left wondering what could have been, there are plenty of positives. It was a great team effort and a big congratulations is due to not only Daniel and Chris but the whole team who helped prepared the car and travelled with them!
You can see the full race results here