Brick and Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge – One Second Winning Margin for Vassallo.

Alex Vassallo/Neil Colman (Citroen C1)crossed the finish line of the last stage on the WestonTransport/Branston Junior Stages just 1 second ahead of Dylan O’Donnell/Tom Middlemiss (Peugeot 107) The rally – the fifth round of the 2014 Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge – was held at Knockhill Race Circuit on 30th August and followed a different format to most Junior events. The first car started on the peripheral roads at 3pm and then the rally switched to the main track for another 6 stages before finishing at 8pm.  A total of 13 Junior cars started the event and 11 finished.

 This had been Vassallo’s closest fight all year. After the first 4 stages he was 6 seconds up on O’Donnell – who reported brake problems on the first 2 stages – and then extended that to 8 seconds over the next 4 stages. The pair tied on the ninth stage and then Vassallo got “stuck” in a chicane on the tenth stage and dropped 7 seconds to O’Donnell. So 1 second it was. At the end of the rally Vassallo shook O’Donnell’s hand saying “That was close!!!”

junior winner

And crossing the finish line in third place was Irish guests Peter Bennett/Arthur Keirans (Citroen C1). This was only Bennett’s 3rd rally and he showed just how much of a force he will be when he gets more experience. He was in 6th place after the first 4 stages; 5th after the next 2 and 3rd after the next 2. The only reported drama was a “wee bit spin” on stage 11. But the long trip over from N Ireland was deemed worth it. Father Chris commented “We are only here for a bit of experience!!” as they shot off from Knockhill at just after 8pm to drive down to Stranrear for the last boat to Belfast!!! That is dedication.

Brandon Walsh/Ian Shiells (Citroen C1) were next home in a very creditable fourth overall and third Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge crew. Knockhill is very familiar territory for Walsh as he attends a number of training courses here. But the brilliant position was almost thrown away when the pure white C1 with “orange highlights” shot over Duffus at the end of stage 7 and spluttered up towards the Flying Finish only to grind to a halt just after the line. The problem – lack of petrol!!! Father Ian is a car trader in Fife and they are famous for filling up trade cars with a 1 litre jug!

junior winners

After 5 rounds of the 8 round Championship, Vassallo holds a commanding 23 point lead over Michael Robertson having scored maximum points on each round.  One more strong score for Vassallo can seal the 2014 Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge. The best 6 scores count. 

The next round of the Brick & Steel Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge will be back at Knockhill on 20th September 2014.