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Manx International Rally - 29-31 Jul 04

Posted: August 1, 2004 12:04 AM - 7765 Hits

Round 6 - 2004 Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship
Counting Round: British Rally Championship

Johnny Milner/Nicky Beech win Manx.
McKinstry second and McGarrity third

Photos: www.brcweb.co.uk
Milner doubles up with Manx success

Yorkshireman Jonny Milner and co-driver Nicky Beech this afternoon secured back-to-back victories on the Gibbs Aquada Manx International Rally.

Posted: August 1, 2004 12:04 AM

The Team Dynamic Subaru crew drove carefully on today’s eight concluding stages, not setting the world alight but never really being too far of the pace either just in case. The reason for that approach was the over-riding need to finish this fifth round of the Kwik-Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship, having already incurred the permitted two retirements. ‘It’s an absolute dream come true’, Jonny told us at the finish in a warm and sunny Douglas this afternoon. ‘This is my favourite event, it’s the toughest in the championship, it is THE event to win. It was great to have the scrap with Mark yesterday but today we’ve driven with our head, excepting a small coming together with a bank and now three wins makes it advantage us in the championship’.

In an exact repeat of 2003 the podium placings were completed by Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr and Derek McGarrity/Dermot O’Gorman.

Kenny borrowed a manifold from Derek first thing this morning as the answer to his overnight problem and when McGarrity still saw his friend ahead at final service he felt cheekily ‘now would be a good time to ask for it back!’

There was plenty of drama early on too, with Steve Perez crashing out of the rally on the opening stage, the run down the fearsome Tholt-y-Will. Then Seb Ling rolled out on the next, the first time the event had tackled the Druidale road, widening local Rob Watson’s group N lead.

On the third stage of the loop it was the turn of 12th placed Steve Quine to run into trouble, losing 5 minutes when a coil lead dropped of the Escort Kit car, and the class lead with it.

Mark Higgins changed an ECU on his Skoda Octavia WRC first thing but had to tackle the first couple of stages with locked diffs. From then on however he was back in Friday form, reeling off six consecutive fastest times to prove the point that this is a potential championship winning machine. 'It's sickening in a way to set all these fastest times and not be in contention, but a great confidence booster after a dismal time since we last won here in 02 really' he told us.

The final reckoning shows the winning margin to be 1 minute 37, with a further 1:08 back to McGarrity, who extends his lead in the Pirelli Irish tarmac series.

Austin MacHale lost his rally long scrap with Eugene Donnelly when the 03 Focus dropped onto three cylinders for the last three miles of the last stage or the rally. With Higgins eventually coming home sixth despite brake problems late on, Eamon Boland was next up in the Subaru, while Matt Wilson survived a front end wipe-out through an off to nurse his Eddie Stobart Focus home in ninth. Currently second in the British standings, Barry Johnson, still takes away valuable points for ninth, while Guy Wilks won Super 1600 for Suzuki despite crawling home with clutch problems.

Watson punctured three stages from home and his group N lead briefly dropped to 12 seconds but he got the hammer down and won the category. Dessie Keenan finished 2nd Group N with Willie Fannin third in the class

1 Jonny Milner/Nicky Beech (Subaru Impreza WRC)
2 Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr (Subaru Impreza WRC)
3 Derek McGarrity/Dermot O'Gorman (Subaru Impreza WRC)
4 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Toyota Corolla WRC)
5 Austin MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
6 Mark Higgins/Craig Thorley (Skoda Octavia WRC)
7 Eamonn Boland/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
8 Matthew Wilson/Scott Martin (Ford Focus WRC)
9 Barry Johnson/Stewart Merry (Subaru Impreza WRC)
10 Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Suzuki Ignis S1600)

Topics: Rally Isle of Man 

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