Huntly driver John Wink in McDonald and Munro Speyside Stages Rally action
RALLY ace John Wink would like nothing better than a podium finish at his home event.
The Huntly driver admits that will be a stiff challenge with a top class field lining up in the McDonald and Munro Speyside Stages.
However, he and co-driver John Forrest from Rothienorman, are in good spirits and have been seeded eight for the race.
“The last three races of last season we finished on the podium. That will be a serious ask at the weekend as there are three former Scottish champions in the field,” said Wink.
The architect feels more confident behind the wheel of his Hyundai i20 R5 after getting to grips with the new car last season.
“There is still more to come from this car and we are looking to build on that this weekend.
“I can’t wait until Saturday and we can get going in the Cooper Park stages and then out into the forests.
“The Speyside Stages is one of my two favourite rallies.”
Wink enjoyed one of his poorest runs in the event last year after he rolled the car on stage five and limped home, having been third after stage three and fifth after stage four.
However, with a good weather forecast for Saturday, Wink is confident they can put in a solid performance.
Wink and Forrest have built an instinctive relationship since they first got together as novices in 2014.
“I was new to driving and John was new to co-driving when we got together in 2014 to do a couple of rallies. We have done every rally in the SRC (Scottish Rally Championship) since then.”
Wink said the trust between driver and co-driver is the key element in a rally partnership.
“We have absolute trust in what each other is doing,” he added.
Spectators can watch the action in the Cooper Park and also in the forests at Roseaire, between Mulben and Keith and at Gartly.
The pair are looking to bounce back after failing to finish the Border Counties Rally last month.
Car number 36 will see driver Alex Pirie from Drummuir with Frazer Skene from Tomintoul in their Subaru Impreza. They won the Subaru Class at the Borders so will be looking for a repeat this weekend.
Aileen Forrest, John Forrest’s wife, will be in her Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5 with Pauline Patterson.
Dumfries driver David Bogie is the favourite to retain his Speyside Stages crown he won last year and a 10th title overall.
Bogie’s first win came in 2008 and he has gone on to be a dominant force in the rally over the last decade.
Scrutineering is from 5pm on Friday night at Billy Miller Contractor, Chanonry Street, Elgin when fans can get a close up view of the cars ahead of the first stage on Saturday morning from 9am in the Cooper Park.
There is plenty of car parking around Chanonry Industrial Estate, but fans are asked to park sensibly.