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SRC: Armstrong powers to Merrick victory

Jock Armstrong bounced back from the disappointment of exclusion on the previous round to take his first ever Scottish championship win on Saturday's Merrick Forest Stages Rally, the penultimate round of the Hankook MSA series.

The Castle Douglas driver won four stages out of five in his Subaru Impreza N11 to finish 40 seconds ahead of Belfast's Jonathan Greer in a Mitsubishi Evo 9.

David Bogie from Dumfries took the final podium spot, a further 24 seconds back, in his Toyota Corolla WRC, having seen Mike Faulkner - his main rival for the Scottish crown - crash out on the first stage with a broken driveshaft.

Borderer Euan Thorburn was fourth overall and third in the SRC points - a result which keeps him in touch in the overall standings with one round remaining.

However, the day belonged to Armstrong and co-driver Kirsty Riddick, the victory all the sweeter following exclusion from the Speyside stages for a Group N technical breach, for which their zero score must be included in the end of season tally of six rounds out of eight.

For the Merrick, Armstrong had taken his car out of GpN by fitting a 34 mm restrictor to the car, giving him an extra 25 bhp. The change of specification paid handsome dividends from the start.

On SS1 Arroch Hill, Armstrong and co-driver Kirsty Riddick were second only to 2008 BTRDA champions Hugh Hunter and Andy Marchbank, who were making their first foray north of the border in their ex-Colin McRae Ford Focus WRC 01.

Over the 3 miles of SS2 Palgowan, Armstrong and Riddick took 10 seconds out of Hunter to win the stage and reduce the overall deficit to 3 seconds.

Another fastest stage on SS3 Jenny's Hill, and it was down to 2 seconds, and after Hunter suffered two punctures on the daunting 15.62 mile Poultrybuiehill test, the Castle Douglas pair were firmly in control with Greer the closest challenger. They then nailed the final 13.58 mile Glentrool test to secure a famous victory.

Related Pictures

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Jock Armstrong / Kirsty Riddick. Subaru Impreza. Merrick Forest Stages - the penultimate round of the 2009 Hankook MSA Scottish Rally Championship [Pic credit: LindsayPhotoSport]

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