Report: Saabs at the 2010 RAC Rally

The following report has come through from the guys in the Saab Historic Rally Team, who participated in the 2010 Roger Albert Clark Rally on the weekend.

My thanks to Steve W for passing it on and congratulations to the rally team!


Saab Historic Rally Team
Roger Albert Clark Rally 26 to 29 November, 2010

  • Event a great success
  • 1000 miles
  • 22 Stages
  • -17C lowest temperature
  • 12 inches the deepest snow on a stage
  • 64 entrants in the main rally event
  • 43 finishers
  • 9 hours sleep in four days

Nick Pinkett/Mark Casey
Second Historic Winners Class B1

They holed a piston on Saturday evening. The spare engine was fitted in the dark, in one hour thirty seven minutes, at the roadside, without a hoist or power tools, so that they could rejoin the rally. Nick’s result is particularly impressive as his car had no limited slip differential, which makes driving in snow virtually impossible, a heroic effort.

Jim Valentine/Andy Harris
Third Historic Second Class B1

Though fast on some of the stages, punctures, ignition and fueling problems in the extreme conditions hampered their rally with the car only running properly on the fourth day. Despite the problems they finished second Historic but ended a run of three previous class wins.

Colin Hope/Nick Patrick
Fourth in Class C3 31st Overall

Their result doesn’t tell the whole story. They started 59th overall and made up 28 positions despite having problems with the head gasket and cooling from Saturday night. Nonetheless, on Stages 12 and 13, in the Forest of Ae in Scotland they set really fast times in the top 30. That is some drive on a surface you couldn’t walk on, it’s hard to believe that his team finished building the car on the Friday of the event and this was the first time Colin has driven a Saab in anger.

Richard Simpson/Debby Myer
Retired Stage 21

Richard was challenging for the lead of the Historic category from day one of the event. As the other leaders retired or fell behind, Richard started stage 21 with a ten minute lead over his nearest rival. On Monday morning a win in the Historics seemed within the team’s grasp, all Richard had to do was complete the last two stages at half speed to secure the position. The team put their efforts into supporting him trying to plan for various possible scenarios, with limited servicing opportunities between the last two stages, the B1 competitors would double up as “on stage” service vehicles to try and ensure Richard the win: Nick took on spares and Jim carried an extra spare wheel for Richard’s car. Cruelly Richard’s car lost the clutch on the start of stage 21 and that victory slipped away.

Magic/Craig Wallace
Retired Stage 17

Magic’s rally ended when they holed the gearbox casing on stage 17. Poor Magic, two weeks before the rally the car was still a shell, and despite holding down his day job he managed to completely build the car back up and get it on the start line for the event (the team pretty much took the last spanner off the car as it went into the noise test for scrutineering on Friday). His late entry meant he started last in the rally, but the weather conditions dealt him the cruelest blow. As the last car on the competitive stages any car in the rally that went off or blocked the stage would hold him up. Sure enough he was baulked on the first six stages, and to add insult to injury since the stages are so narrow, having unstuck the car in front it would take off and, despite rescuing it, he would have to be stuck behind it for the rest of the stage. Where he could find some “clean air” the former works car was quick on the stages, but sadly a gearbox failure late on brought what must have been a frustrating event to a close.

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