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Rally Isle of Man (Manx International) - 3-5 Aug 06

Posted: August 15, 2006 4:42 PM - 27764 Hits

Round 6 - 2006 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 3 - 2006 British Rally Championship
Round 3 - 2006 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evo Challenge

  • EUGENE THE MANX MASTER
  • Mitsubishi team shines before the rain
  • Evolution Challenge - Milner takes maiden Mitsubishi win
  • Morrow survives a sting in the Manx tale
  • McCLOSKEY MAKES TOP TWENTY ON DEBUT MANX
  • GASS’S PROMISING MANX THWARTED
  • Donnelly/Kiely survive final day Rally Isle of Man dramas to win.
  • Two in a row for Higgins.
  • Photos

Photo: Roy Dempster

Posted: August 15, 2006 4:42 PM


EUGENE THE MANX MASTER
Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely have now added the Rally Isle of Man to their impressive tally of rally wins, as they guided the Esker Corolla to maximum Irish Tarmac Championship points. With one of the strongest entries of the season, it was the teams third time on the island for this very specialised rally. “I had it in my mind that I wanted to win the rally at the start. I don’t think an Irish driver has won it since Frank Meagher and it was almost definitely going to be an Irish driver on top this year. We had three really competitive rivals to beat, Eamon Boland, Derek McGarrity and of course Kenny McKinstry.” The rally encompassed 180 competitive stage miles starting at tea time on Thursday with five stages including the famous Castletown spectator tests. Overnight Eugene held third place just ten seconds off the leader Kenny McKinstry in his S8 Impreza and nine seconds behind Derek McGarrity in a new S11 Subaru in second. “We were happy enough at this stage and Friday really was the big day of the rally to go attacking.”

Friday was certainly the big day, 11 stages and 98 punishing stage miles, the longest day of the tarmac series. The damp weather was suiting the Toyota team, and Eugene began to make a move, eclipsing McGarrity for second by stage 8, and by stage 10 Cringle the Kumho shod Corolla was leading its Pirelli shod rivals by one second. “I was delighted to be fastest on the Cringle stage, as I was worried that the extra power of the Subaru’s would tell on the fast main road bits.” It was the start of an emphatic battle with Kenny McKinstry, who so desperately wanted to win the event that has brought him so many second places. Rain showers were prominent throughout the day and tyre choice was a lottery. “Really I have to thank my brother Charlie. He worked really hard to get the conditions of the stages, and we made some choices which others thought daring, but every one of them was spot on. It was very tricky as the shiny tarmac was serious, there were bits of the road like ice it was that bad.” But the slippery conditions suited Eugene as he pulled a 30 second buffer over Kenny McKinstry going into the final days seven stages.

The Kingspan team immediately held onto that buffer on the first stage out at Rhenab, but Kenny McKinstry mounted a huge assault on the Slieu Dhoo test which ran over the famous Druidale and Baldwin sections, Eugene admitting to being far too conservative. By stage 22 White Strand the gap was just 18 seconds, but third placed Derek McGarrity departed the fray in spectacular fashion on this test, the Subaru driver badly breaking his arm and damaging his shoulder in the process. “Back at service we weren’t sure of the whole nature of the incident, and just hoped that he was alright. I have known Derek a long time, and everyone was relieved to hear that it was not as bad as first thought. I wish him a speedy recovery.” By this point Eugene was also in drama as the throttle was sticking open and all Ferodo’s stopping power had to be used to halt the car! With a sticking throttle to contend with over the last two stages, which included the fourteen mile- Classic special stage, it was nerve wrecking stuff. “There was a throttle butterfly problem in the car, and I never had as many moments, as I did on the last test, with a jammed open throttle. It was worst at the finish line at the TT Grandstand. The car was revving way up and at one point I thought it might blow the engine! If Kenny had not of spun and dropped twenty seconds to us on the penultimate stage, it may have been touch and go, but it was such as satisfying win.”

Victory on the Rally Isle of Man leaves only the Jim Clark to complete the full set of tarmac wins, and it was particularly pleasing victory for co driver Paul Kiely. “To win the Manx is superb, as it is such a test of speed and pacenotes. There are so many notes and it’s important to get them all right.” “For me it’s just such a thrill to win such a prestigious event and have your name up there. The Manx, like the Circuit of Ireland is such a household name” quipped Eugene.

It’s back home for the penultimate round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the Ulster Rally in September, and there is a chance that the team could clinch their third Irish Tarmac Championship. “Yes there is a chance of clinching the series on the Ulster, but even if that does happen I can assure you that I will be in Cork to contest the last round.” Eugene commands a fifteen point lead over Eamon Boland, a lead which is even more prominent when dropped scores are taken into account. With brother Charlie still battling with Patrick Elliot for the Irish National Championship, a Donnelly double on the two major Irish rallying championships would make the Donnelly Motorsport team the most successful in Irish rallying memory.


Mitsubishi team shines before the rain
This year’s Rally Isle of Man, which took place on 3rd, 4th & 5th August, initially saw Mitsubishi Motors UK Rally team drivers Rory Galligan and Ryan Champion assume their familiar positions, challenging for top places in the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.

But even after setting a series of front-running stage times, it was not the event the team had hoped for, when both cars retired on the second day following accidents on roads which had been made incredibly slippery by intermittent rain.

Having scored a first round victory and two podium positions in round two of the British Championship, the Mitsubishi team were confident of a good result in round three. However, to win on the Isle of Man was always going to be a challenge against current British Champion and Manx-born Subaru driver Mark Higgins.

Predictably, following the event’s first leg of five stages on Thursday evening, Higgins was in the lead, with Guy Wilks in a Suzuki second. After setting a fastest stage time on SS4 Champion was third with Galligan just seven seconds behind in fourth, but both Mitsubishi drivers had been caught out on the wrong tyres, the island’s unpredictable weather living up to its reputation.

The final service halt of the day at the TT Grandstand found many competitors reporting that road conditions were more difficult than ever, including Champion and Galligan who each requested that adjustments be made to their car’s suspension settings before day-two.

As rain fell in some parts of the island during Friday morning, tyre choice again became a lottery for the day’s 11 stages. As such, Champion was caught out by the inconsistent conditions on SS6, spun and consequently swapped places with Galligan, who in-turn went on to spin on SS7 but held on to third place.

Wilks then succumbed to a similar lack of adhesion on SS11, although his spin saw him leave the road for 30 seconds allowing both Mitsubishi drivers to pass. Now in second place and comfortable with the way his car was handling, Galligan set off on SS12 looking to consolidate his position. But then, whilst negotiating a series of bends - each with differing levels of grip, Galligan slid wide and the car struck a bank the angle of which caused the car to roll and come to rest on its roof.

Thankfully, Galligan (from Oldcastle, Southern Ireland) and co-driver Greg Shinnors (from Limerick, Southern Ireland), extracted themselves from the inverted Mitsubishi unharmed but more than disappointed their rally was over.

This left Champion (from Castleton, North Yorkshire), and his co-driver Craig Thorley (from Pocklington, East Yorkshire), in second place and although now setting times comparable with Higgins, a gap of nearly two-minutes would mean victory could be theirs if the Subaru driver had a problem.

With another fall of rain adding to the ever-changing nature of the roads later that afternoon, Champion paid greater attention to the sections in his pacenotes that referred to ‘shiny tar’. Then, on SS17 when approaching one stretch of road he had already cautioned as slippery, he found there was no grip at all and although trying all he could to slow the car down, he clipped a wall, the impact immediately removing the front wheel.

Although a disappointing event for the Mitsubishi team, there were some consolations: Both of the team’s Lancer Evolution IXs ran faultlessly throughout the event, both the drivers and team learnt a great deal about how this year’s cars perform on a variety of surfaces and in varied conditions and Champion retains his second position in the British Rally Championship.

The experience will now be put to good use for round four of the British Rally Championship, the Ulster Rally, which takes place on 1st & 2nd September.

The Cirencester-based Mitsubishi Motors UK team is supported by: Pirelli, Rampage Performance Motorparts, Shell Helix, PIAA, Speedline Corse and Performance Friction Brakes. The team’s Lancer Evolution IXs are built by ADR Motorsport of Chesterfield, who are also responsible for running the cars on events.

Team Quotations
Rory Galligan - Driver
“Everything was fine and then suddenly we were in the bank. There was a sequence of corners with differing levels of grip just before we went off, so I was driving with that in mind. I remember turning the wheel and the car momentarily understeering – and then before I knew it we were up the bank and on our roof. Not the way I wanted to end the rally, but it was just one of those events where incidents like this were taking place on almost every stage. I think I’ve had my bad luck this year, so I’m now looking forward to Ulster.”

Ryan Champion - Driver
I still can’t believe how slippery that section of road was. I had it cautioned in the pacenotes, but it was far worse that I had ever imagined. There was just no grip at all – it was like glass! Once we started sliding it was just a case of trying to minimise the impact and with others having similar incidents at the same place it shows just how bad the road surface was. Frustratingly we weren’t even attacking at that point. With Rory out and Mark (Higgins) well ahead I was just eager to score as many championship points as possible. But the season’s not over yet!”

Paul Brigden – General Manager, Mitsubishi Ralliart
“Both cars had been running perfectly and we were in for another podium finish, so when the news came in that Rory had rolled I was not only disappointed but surprised. Then, a couple of hours later, to get the call that Ryan was also out was a real blow. I feel sorry for the whole team as no one wants to end a rally like this and I fully appreciate what the conditions were like out there. Anyone who got through this event without any problems deserved to do well.”


Evolution Challenge - Milner takes maiden Mitsubishi win
The Rally Isle of Man provided an action-packed third round for this year’s Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, with Jonny Milner and his co-driver Nick Beech recording their maiden victory in the series for Group N Lancer Evolutions.

Seven Evolution Challenge crews lined up at the Douglas TT Grandstand on Thursday evening to start the 180-mile event held over the island’s closed public roads. Right from the word go the dramas began when Gwyndaf Evans found his car’s ignition cutting out as he drove through SS1, costing the former British Champion an agonizing four minutes in lost time.

Also suffering problems was Milner when his car’s turbo expired in the opening stage, the eventual winner losing well over a minute as he cruised through the first two tests. Both Phillip Morrow and Stephen Petch reported that they could have had better runs: Morrow concerned he had a differential problem when his car kept spinning its wheels and Petch discovering his anti-lag system was switched off.

However, the biggest drama was reserved for Stuart Jones who clipped a wall at high-speed near the end of SS2, the impact cannoning the car in the wall on the opposite side of the road, his Evolution IX then going into a series of spins and rolls before coming to rest on its side. Thankfully both Jones and his co-driver Craig Parry emerged intact, but the same could not be said for their car.

All this activity in just two stages left Phillip Morrow in the Evo Challenge lead as cars returned to the TT Grandstand for the first service halt. Milner had his turbo replaced, Evans electrical problems were resolved and teams frantically adjusted suspension settings to compensate for the slippery conditions and bumpy roads.

Thursday’s remaining three stages saw Morrow end the day leading the Evos, with Milner second and despondent that his challenge for both Mitsubishi and overall positions had been compromised so early in the event.

Day two provided a further 11 stages and an opportunity for more dramas in the Evo Challenge field – especially as the weather had turned to rain, making the already demanding Manx roads even more difficult to negotiate.

First to fall-foul to the conditions was Petch, who went straight on into a wall on SS7, demolishing the front of his Mitsubishi and ending his rally on the spot. Although taken to hospital for a check-up, both he and co-driver Michael Wilkinson were discharged, albeit suffering from a few aches and bruises.

Still not comfortable with his car’s transmission, Morrow was dropping time, especially after experiencing a number of spins and overshoots. In contrast Milner was charging and eventually overhauled the young Ulsterman on SS9.

Evans was also catching up fast, setting a series of overall fastest British Championship times in the process and by SS10 he was up to third.

Neil McCance was now in fourth and enjoying himself on the stages, even though the organizers did their best to stifle his progress by awarding him a series of notional times which did not reflect the Irishman’s true performance. McCance was another driver to find the inconsistent road surfaces a challenge, experiencing a number of spins – one of which saw him re-shape the back of his Evo IX against a tree.

Connor McCloskey held fifth place and was pleased with his progress, claiming that he was learning a lot, as this was his first ever time of driving on wet tarmac.

Positions remained unchanged for the remainder of Friday and at the final service halt of the day teams worked hard to replace any components that might impede progress during the final day’s seven stages, with the transmissions in Milner’s, Morrow’s and Evans’ cars all receiving attention.

With dry roads and being happy with the way his Mitsubishi was handling, Milner set-off on Saturday with a comfortable one-minute lead ahead of Morrow, who was being hunted down by an ever-quickening Evans. However, the Welshman’s rally came to an-untimely end when bolts in his car’s rear differential came loose when leaving the morning’s service halt.

It looked like all of the dramas were over as crews lined-up to start the final stage which headed back to the TT Grandstand for the finish. But it’s not over till it’s over and with just two miles to go, Morrow clipped a wall and punctured his car’s oil cooler. The subsequent loss of lubricant sent two con rods through the side of the engine, resulting in an under-bonnet fire.

Although concerned when his car started slipping out of gear, Milner had a clean run through the final stage and crossed the line a clear winner in the Evolution Challenge and third overall in the British Rally Championship.

“I would never had imagined we could have ended-up with a result like this on Thursday evening, so it just goes to show that on a rally like this you have to keep going, as others have problems too. I’m very pleased to have taken my first Evolution Challenge win and to take a step nearer the prize of a works drive next year.”

Neil McCance took his second-second place in as many events and moves into second place in the series standings.

Although unable to finish the final day’s stages, by getting their cars into parc-ferme within a given time Super-Rally rules allowed Morrow to finish third, ahead of McCloskey in fourth and Evans to finish fifth.

The series, which follows all six rounds of this year’s Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship, now heads to Northern Ireland for the Ulster Rally on September 1st 2nd.

The Evolution Challenge offers driver the best prize in British motorsport – the chance to become a Mitsubishi works driver in the British Rally Championship. The series is backed by Mitsubishi Motors UK Ralliart and sees the continued support of its associate sponsors: Walon, Pirelli, PIAA, Speedline Corse, Shell and Mintex.

2006 Evolution Challenge Round 3
Rally Isle of Man – Results
1st Jonny Milner (Huggate)/Nick Beech (Lewknor) – 2:54:30.4
2nd Neil McCance (Comber)/Sean Moriarty (Kerry) – 3:01:58.7
3rd Phillip Morrow (Lisburn)/Daniel Barritt (Burnley) – 3:05:42.2
4th Connor McCloskey (Kilrea)/Robbie Durant (Bicester) – 3:06:09.3
5th Gwyndaf Evans (Dinas Mawddwy)/Huw Lewis (Machynlleth) – 3:45:08.6


Retirements
SS2 Stuart Jones (Welshpool)/Craig Parry (Llanymynech) – Accident
SS7 Stephen Petch (Richmond)/Michael Williamson (Tow Law) - Accident


Morrow survives a sting in the Manx tale
The Rally Isle of Man was another character building event for young Ulsterman Phillip Morrow from Lisburn and his co-driver Daniel Barritt from Burnley, when they finished the arduous three-day event third in the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge and 16th overall.

The rally comprised 24 stages and a total of 180 competitive miles over closed public roads on the island. It featured rounds of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Championship and the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge - and Phillip is registered for each.

Starting on Thursday evening from the famous TT Grandstand in Douglas, crews embarked on the first leg of five stages and, although experiencing an unusually high level of wheel-spin, Phillip kept out of trouble whilst others around him didn't. He therefore found himself leading the Evolution Challenge pack and in 18th position overall before the overnight halt.

In the service area back in Douglas the team worked on his Mitsubishi’s transmission and suspension settings in order to increase its grip for the following 11 stages on Friday, but intermittent showers during the day made the island’s already challenging bumpy roads even more unpredictable and difficult to negotiate.

Although getting used to the varying levels of adhesion, Phillip was not completely comfortable with his car’s handling and following a few spins and overshoots was passed by twice former winner of this event, Jonny Milner and was subsequently relegated by one place.

Eager to score Evolution Challenge points and get to the end of the event, Phillip opted to consolidate his position for Saturday’s seven stages. With dry roads throughout the day it looked like all was going according to plan as he lined-up to start the final stage which headed back to the TT Grandstand and the finish.

But it’s not over till it’s over and with just two miles to go Phillip clipped a wall and punctured his Mitsubishi’s oil cooler just two-miles from the end of the stage. The subsequent loss of lubricant then sent two con rods through the side of the engine and then caused an under-bonnet fire.

Although now stopped at the side of the road, Super-Rally rules for International events allow competitors who are unable to finish the last day’s stages to be classified in the results by getting their cars back to parc-ferme by a given time. Albeit on the end of a tow-rope, the team were able to retrieve the stricken Evo and, as so many others encountered problems too, Phillip’s final result was not as bad as it could have been, finishing third in the Evolution Challenge, 10th in the British Rally Championship and 16th overall.

“Even though we recorded a respectable result I was gutted when we stopped on the last stage with the finish almost in sight! There was no pressure on me to go quickly as my position was quite safe, so perhaps I was taking things too cautiously. Usually the car will slide a little when it corners at speed, so I think it must have turned in more sharply because we were going so slowly. I sometimes wonder what I’ve got to do to get through an event without a problem, but at least I gained loads of experience for the next event which is on my home turf.”

The event to which Phillip refers is the Ulster Rally on September 1st 2nd. The event is the next round of the British and Irish Championships and the fourth round of the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge.

Phillip’s 2006 campaign is supported by Pirelli, Morrow Fuels, Fitzsamuel Insurance, Lyons European Haulage, Lagan Motor Factors, DGM Motorsport, Kelly’s Toyota, Proflex, PIAA, Speedline Corse, AMS gear kits, BADMC and RPM Promotions.


McCLOSKEY MAKES TOP TWENTY ON DEBUT MANX
Connor McCloskey partnered by MSA Elite Academy’s Robbie Durant, took an excellent eighteenth place overall on this weekend’s newly named Rally Isle of Man.

It was the youngster from Kilrea in Northern Ireland’s first attempt at the International event and his goal before the rally was threefold. “I only met Robbie on the Tuesday before the start and we started out with some simple goals.” said Connor, “We agreed that we needed to finish, gain experience of the stages and add some points to the Championship pot, simple.”

The first day unearthed a potential problem that could easily have scuppered any chances of getting to the finish unscathed. “I hadn’t looked at the event schedule too closely, so the car arrived without a lamp pod. A mistake, as the last three stages on Thursday ran into darkness. But we drove to the conditions and I was actually quite pleased to see we’d only dropped a couple of places after the five stages.”

Friday dawned overcast and the big decision was tyre choice. The newly acquainted crew took a gamble based on reports from the other side of the island and chose slicks for the first loop of three stages. It soon became clear that intermediates were required. But again, they drove at a sensible pace and aside from a couple of minor scares in the slippery conditions, they arrived unflustered at service and this time they had climbed a handful of places.

Another seven stages stood between the young crew and the end of the second day as they continued their climb up the leaderboard. A clutch fault kept the DGM mechanics busy as the evening drew on, but it only temporarily affected down-changes before the problem was resolved. They dispatched a further seven places by the close of play, even posting a twelfth fastest time on the second run through the short Ramsey spectator stage.

Saturday started well with consistent stage times and after the penultimate service the final five stages seemed to click for the pair. “We had taken a while to get used to each other and as we decided to modify Patterson’s notes we weren’t fully comfortable until the last leg,” explained Connor, “The last five stages were spot-on and times were hovering around the top twenty. It moved us up another twelve places to 18th, a real confidence builder.”

“Robbie was really enthusiastic and it was only after the rally that he reminded me of the goals we’d set ourselves. We had plenty of little dramas on the way but it has left me feeling really good about the rest of the season.” The result keeps Connor in equal fourth place in the Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge and only two points away from a top ten position in the British Rally Championship. Coupled with his sixth place in the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Group N series, he has just cause to be optimistic for the next round, the Ulster Rally at the start of September.

Connor and the team would like to thank Egger (wood based panels), The Fisher Foundation, Euro Components, KBB Doors, Pirelli and Shell Racing Fuels for their continuing support in 2006


GASS’S PROMISING MANX THWARTED
Darren Gass and Neil Shanks finished the newly named Rally Isle of Man having set promising times in the Super 1600 category this weekend.

The crew went to the Isle of Man having fitted the long-awaited Reiger suspension to the car but spent much of the first leg fine-tuning it to suit the ultra fast Manx lanes. The Third round of the British Rally Championship was another first for the eighteen year old from County Armagh and he held third in the BRC S1600 class after Thursday night’s five stages.

Friday was to prove difficult for all the crews as the weather was predictable unpredictable. “It is so hard to know which tyres to use,” said Neil at the Douglas TT grandstand service area, “The roads down here are dry but with those clouds it could rain at any time.” He was right, as the roads on the first stage proved wet and the pair had a scare mounting a bank and teetering on the edge of rolling the car. “The first stage was very bumpy and slippery but we got to grips on the next one,” commented Darren.

They continued to keep in touch with Clark in second place, even maintaining the pace when the Round Table hairpin caught them out. “I made a mess of the hairpin and picked up mud on the front tyre,” explained Darren, “It felt like we’d picked up a puncture so took it easy until we realised what it was.” Four more good stages followed with two runs round the Ramsey spectator special, leaving them just outside the top twenty overall and third BRC Super 1600 crew with just three Friday stages remaining.

The next stage, Baldhoon, had been stopped during its first run by an accident further up the field so the pair didn’t start it, being issued a nominal time instead. The stoppage was repeated on its second running but with more serious consequences for Darren and Neil. They were the ones who stopped the stage, having clipped an unseen rock, breaking the front suspension. The car ground to a halt in a narrow section with terminal steering and suspension damage with the wheel wedged against the wheel arch, preventing any forward motion.

The final day was a bonus for the team, running under Super Rally rules that allow retired crews to take a hefty time penalty on any incomplete stages. “We effectively lost half an hour in penalties,” explained Neil, “but it means we can complete Saturday’s stages as a test now the car is repaired.” Unfortunately the first stage of the day was marred by a puncture and the second by an accident ahead. “We only got two clean stages on Saturday as the alternator packed up on the very last test,” shrugged Darren, “But our times on the clean stages were promising and now the car has its new suspension and engine mapping I feel a lot more confident that we can progress.”

The next round of the British and Irish Rally Championships is the only one that Darren has experience of as he contested the Ulster International in 2005. “I’m really looking forward to doing my home event,” said Darren, “The rally base is less than ten miles down the road so we’ll have lots of local support.” The Ulster Rally takes place on the 1st & 2nd of September and is the last tarmac event on the 2006 BRC calendar.

Darren would like to thank Castrol, Kumho Tyres, Millview Fuels, Dalzells of Markethill, EMC Autopax, PIAA, AC Vehicle Components, Sligo Pallets, Alpha Cam, Crozier Motorsport Engineering and ID Graphics for their continuing support in 2006. You can check on the team’s progress at www.darrengass.com


Donnelly survives final day Rally Isle of Man dramas
Reigning Pirelli Irish Tarmac Champions Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely added a new title to their extensive list of event wins on Saturday after holding on to claim Rally Isle of Man, supported by TOTAL by twenty four and a half seconds.

The Northern Ireland crew had taken a twenty nine second lead into the final day, and they were simply looking to protect it in changeable conditions once again, taking a heavy tread intermediate tyre choice for the opening loop.

The Toyota Corolla WRC worked to good effect in the opening stage, gaining a further 1.5 seconds, but then the fight back that everyone knew would come did, Kenny McKinstry and Noel Orr halving the deficit at a stroke with a blistering run over Druidale and the Baldwins in their Subaru Impreza WRC.

The battle continued with the pair swopping fastest times, Donnelly saying ‘We were caught out by Kenny earlier so it’s hammer down!'

The advantage remained at 18 seconds with just two tests remaining, but unfortunately third placed Derek McGarrity and Dairmuid Falvey’s Impreza WRC went off the road at high speed on SS22. Dairmuid was ok, but Derek suffered a broken arm. We all wish him a speedy recovery.

That promoted Eamonn Boland into third place in his Ford Focus WRC, despite Eamonn losing time in the stage himself.

On the penultimate stage at St Marks, Donnelly found himself in trouble. ‘We’re down on power, might not be able to stay ahead’, he reported. McKinstry attacked hard but the chase became fruitless when he spun, dropping twenty seconds.

The Donnelly camp certainly had concern etched on their faces as they waited nervously at the finish of the final stage right alongside the TT Grandstand. When the Toyota flashed over the horizon, their joy was unconfined.

‘Boy, there were some wild moments in there!’ said Donnelly. ‘The throttle was sticking wide open in places. We’re delighted, it’s my third visit and I love the place. Winning here put your name alongside legends’.

McKinstry was valiant in defeat, having gone hard over that final test. ‘We weren’t ever going to give up on right to the end. Eugene drove a super rally, but we’ll be back, this island is a great place to go rallying.’

Boland and Francis Regan held on for third, clocking up more championship points, though this result puts Donnelly’s title defence on solid ground.

Similarly in the Tesco 99 Octane British Championship battle, Mark Higgins’ chances of retaining his title are further enhanced by fourth overall and maximum points.

Mark played it steady all day, there were big time gaps either side, and he drove accordingly in the Stobart VK Subaru. The battle behind between Guy Wilks and Jonny Milner was one to savour, Wilks on the limit as ever in the little Suzuki Ignis and Milner finally felling he had the Mitsubishi performing well as the roads dried out for the sunshine finish.

We lost Gwyndaf Evans early on when the rear differential let go leaving service on the SJR Hankook Mitsubishi.

There’s no doubt it’s been a hard fought Rally Isle of Man, and Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely have conquered both the opposition and conditions to win by the second smallest margin in the long history of the event. Let the party begin!

Two in a row for Higgins.
Reigning British Rally Champion Mark Higgins made it two in a row in this year’s Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship after taking victory in Rally Isle of Man after three days of action on the sometimes treacherous world famous tarmac roads.

Higgins battled variable weather to set 15 fastest stage times on his way to taking his second victory this season after his tie-break win on last month’s Jim Clark Rally. This time the challenge was not so close as Higgins’ front-running opposition suffered problems with most notably both Mitsubishi Motors UK cars having incidents taking them out of the rally on the second day.

“All credit to the team, they gave me a fantastic car, it hasn’t missed a beat all rally,” said Higgins, co-driven by Rory Kennedy. “We had to go fast from the beginning and make a lead as if you hang around here it’s gone.”

Higgins was born on the Isle of Man making his win all the more popular for the home crowds who watched the Manxman take the finish of the rally’s final stage in front of the famous motorcycle TT race grandstand. “It was definitely a bonus knowing the roads, especially with the weather so variable. Tyres were crucial, although it was a case of trying to be least wrong on choice as the weather changed so much,” he said.

Taking second place of the BRC runners was Guy Wilks delivering another giant killing performance in the S1600 Suzuki Ignis. Even before the retirement of the Mitsubishis, WIlks was in a strong second place, indeed for the second rally in succession the Darlington driver set the fastest BRC time on the rally’s opening stage.

“It’s definitely a cracking result,” said Wilks, who has yet to secure a budget to contest the championship’s next round. Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh’s car is only two-wheel drive and gives a power advantage to its heavier four-wheel drive rivals too. “It’s a pity it could have been dry all rally as we would have pushed Mark harder. We made one mistake and made two wrong tyre choices but we set fastest stage times, which is awesome.”

The treacherous nature of the event and the dramas befalling so many competitors meant that Yorkshireman Jonny Milner could fight back from a lack of turbo on the first day to take a fine third place. Milner was also first Mitsubishi Evo Challenge runner home, putting him in the lead of the competition which has a drive with the works Mitsubishi Motors UK team in 2007. “It’s three long days in this event and you can pick up a good result even with an ailing gearbox,” said Milner, a two-time BRC champion and Rally Isle of Man winner. “The team did a superb job in keeping it all together and to have the lead of the Evo Challenge is fantastic as that means a free works drive next year!”

For so many of the BRC frontrunners it was a case of going off the tricky course, especially in the variable conditions of the second day. Mitsubishi Motors UK’s Rory Galligan and co-driver Greg Shinnors rolled their car in SS12. “We were looking for a bit more pace, then the rain came back and on a slippery stretch we understeered, went up bank and the next moment we were on the roof,” said Galligan. The second works Mitsubishi lasted half a day longer. “The last stage on Friday was like glass and we had no grip at all. We tried to slow down but we couldn’t and we clipped a bank and took a wheel off,” explained driver Ryan Champion of the incident which caused his and co-driver Craig Thorley’s retirement from the event.

Higgins set 15 fastest stage times of the BRC competitors with SJR Hankook driver Gwyndaf Evans setting three fastest times before his Evo IX lost a bolt from its differential leaving Evans to retire from the event.

“We were leaving service and leaving an oil trail as a bolt had worked loose,” said the Welshman, BRC champion in 1996 “All the hard work was done for us and we were only going to go at 80 percent from then to get the result.” Whilst Evans went out of the rally with a whimper, team-mate Stuart Jones made his retirement very definitely with a bang, crashing out of the event’s second stage on Thursday night. “I haven’t been well the last few days and I’m not sure exactly what happened as we weren’t really pushing in there,” said Jones, an MSA British Rally Elite member, of the roll which put himself and co-driver Craig Parry out of the rally.

Coming home in second position in the S1600 class was Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team driver Barry Clark, who had to change his windscreen after hitting a pheasant during the course of his and co-driver Scott Martin’s rally. “The event went well and we really turned a corner with the Fiesta’s set-up,” he said.

Round four of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship takes place on September 1-2 with the Ulster International Rally.


Results
1 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Toyota Corolla WRC) 2h 44m 24s,
2 Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 44m 48s,
3 Eamonn Boland/Francis Regan (Ford Focus WRC) 2h 47m 46s,
4 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Subaru Impreza N12) GpN 2h 49m 51s,
5 Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Suzuki Ignis S1600) 2h 53m 45s,
6 Jonny Milner/Nick Beech (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2h 54m 30s,
7 Gareth Jones/David Moynihan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 55m 05s,
8 Roy White/Stephen McAuley (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) GpN 2h 56m 02s,
9 Conrad Rautenbach/David Senior (Subaru Impreza N11) GpN 2h 56m 39s,
10 Julian Reynolds/Paul Spooner (Subaru Impreza N11) GpN 2h 56m 56s.

Class winners:
John Gallagher/Brendan McElhinney (Honda Civic),
Harry Cathcart/Wendy Blackledge (Suzuki Swift).
PRE EVENT NEWS
  • Evo drivers prepare for classic closed-road rally
    Jones aims to defend series lead
    Others look for better fortunes
  • Mitsubishi Motivated for Manx Challenge
    Galligan sets out to turn the tables
    Champion looks forward to favourite rally
  • Isle of Man to sort out the men from the boys.
    BRC round three provides longest challenge.
  • O’Mahony and Higgins target first class win of the season in Isle of Man International Rally
  • Rally Isle of Man – Leading Entries
  • Back-to-back rally challenge for Gareth
  • Jimmy McRae returns to the Isle of Man
  • Record entry for Rally Isle of Man
  • Branding name change for International Rally
  • Entries Open for RALLY ISLE OF MAN
  • New Website

31/07/06
Evo drivers prepare for classic closed-road rally
Jones aims to defend series lead
Others look for better fortunes

As the 2006 Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge moves to its third round on the notorious closed-road stages of the Isle of Man, there’s still nothing in it between the leading crews in the highly competitive one-make series for Group N Mitsubishi Lancers – with three drivers tying for third place.

Seven of the eight registered Evolution Challenge teams are making the trip to the island, a figure which represents 22% of the 32-car Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship entry.

As it did in round two, the Jim Clark Rally, Britain’s premier series shares the event with the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Championship, a factor which sees a larger overall entry, although the Irish registered Mitsubishi competitors are not eligible to score BRC or Evo Challenge points.

Round one Evolution Challenge winner, Gwyndaf Evans, is the highest seeded series contender – hardly surprising as the experienced Welshman regularly sets the fastest stage times and is no stranger to the Isle of Man. Evans will be hoping for a better outing than he had on the Jim Clark Rally, as he retired when transmission troubles struck whilst leading the Evo Challenge.

Next up is Jonny Milner, twice former overall winner on the island in 2003 & 2004 and another driver who will be wishing for his luck to change after a number of frustrations so far this season. However, things could be worse as he currently lies second in the Evolution Challenge standings.

An impressive seeding sees Stephen Petch third of the Mitsubishi series contenders. After troublesome runs in the two previous Challenge rounds, Petch entered the recent Swansea Bay Rally and, although a wholly gravel event, did confidence in himself and the car no harm at all by winning the fifth round of the Evolution Cup.

Evo Championship leader Stuart Jones lines-up next. His second place on round one and win last time out see him with a two-point advantage. Even so, Jones will also be looking for a more competitive outing in order to stay ahead and has recently tested the car to ensure he hits the ground running.

Another to have used the Swansea Bay as a means of gaining additional seat-time, is fifth-seed Phillip Morrow. Unlike Petch, the young Ulsterman did not compete but was seen as course car on the South Wales based event. Morrow is another who wants a hassle-free run and intends to increase his focus, having clobbered a bridge and taken a wheel off in the Jim Clark Rally!

In contrast, Neil McCance is enjoying his best Evo Challenge season yet, having posted a second place on the Jim Clark Rally. McCance admits that he might not be the quickest Mitsubishi driver in the series, but if others try too hard he’ll be right there to take advantage of the situation.

Similarly, Connor McCloskey scored his career best Evo Challenge finish last time out, with a third place – even though he had to drive with no brakes for some of the event and will therefore be another who is looking for a clean run this weekend, partnered by his third co-driver in as many events.

Following a host of niggling problems, culminating with a sticking throttle and impact with a tree, former Peugeot Challenge Champion Shaun Gallager has chosen to miss the Rally Isle of Man, but will be back for the Ulster Rally in September.

The International Rally Isle of Man gets underway at 6.00 pm on Thursday from the Douglas TT Grandstand. Five stages take place that evening, followed by a further 12 on Friday and seven on Saturday. The route totals 187 competitive miles – a distance which, combined with the notorious nature of the roads, is going to push both cars and crews to their limits.

The Evolution Challenge offers driver the best prize in British motorsport – the chance to become a Mitsubishi works driver in the British Rally Championship. The series is backed by Mitsubishi Motors UK Ralliart and sees the continued support of its associate sponsors: Walon, Pirelli, PIAA, Speedline Corse, Shell and Mintex.

Rally Isle of Man
Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge entries (in start number order)
15. Gwyndaf Evans (Dinas Mawddwy)/Huw Lewis (Machynlleth)
17. Jonny Milner (Huggate)/Nick Beech (Lewknor)
19. Stephen Petch (Richmond)/Michael Williamson (Tow Law) (J)
23. Stuart Jones (Welshpool)/Craig Parry (Llanymynech) (J)
24. Phillip Morrow (Lisburn)/Daniel Barritt (Burnley) (J)
33. Neil McCance (Comber)/Sean Moriarty (Kerry)
43. Connor McCloskey (Kilrea)/Robbie Durant (Bicester) (J)


Mitsubishi Motivated for Manx Challenge
Galligan sets out to turn the tables
Champion looks forward to favourite rally

The third round of the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship, the Rally Isle of Man, starts on Thursday and will see the Mitsubishi Motors UK rally team back in action with drivers Rory Galligan and Ryan Champion competing in the two works Lancer Evolution IXs.

After finishing on exactly the same time (to the tenth of a second) as his Subaru rival Mark Higgins in round two - the Jim Clark Rally, Rory Galligan (from Oldcastle, Southern Ireland) and co-driver Greg Shinnors (from Limerick, Southern Ireland), became victims of the tie-break rule, where the fastest on the opening stage is credited with the advantage.

Predictably, Galligan would like to reverse the outcome this weekend, but is mindful of keeping his Championship aspirations in focus:
“I’ve only been to the Isle of Man twice in my life, whereas Mark was born there.” Said Galligan. “Therefore everyone is expecting him to win which turns some of the pressure off me. Needless to say, I shall be giving it all I’ve got, but driving with the Championship in mind. Making sure I get to the finish and score as many points as possible is the most important thing - and if we win? Great!”

Last year Higgins won the event overall and Galligan took victory in the Production Class, a result which sets the scene for an epic battle over the island’s closed public roads.

Champion (from Castleton, North Yorkshire), together with his co-driver Craig Thorley (from Pocklington, East Yorkshire), have already proved they are title contenders, having won the first round outright and finishing third in round two. Champion has also shown his potential on the Isle of Man, after winning Group N and the Evolution Challenge on the island last year:
“This is one of the world’s classic tarmac rallies and it will be great to do it as a works driver. I’ve competed on the island five times, four in the International and once in the National. I’m pleased to say I’ve had some good results here so it’s become my favorite event. If it all goes well then I’m confident that we’ll be in a top position, especially as there’s less pressure on us for this event.”

Team Principal and Ralliart General Manager Paul Brigden is looking for his cars to be on the podium once again, following the results from the last two BRC rounds:
“I’ve been very pleased with the speed of our cars so far this year. Ryan won the Pirelli Rally and Rory set fastest times on 14 of the 21 stages on the Jim Clark Rally, so I’m confident that both will run at the front of the field this weekend. However, this is a long and arduous event and therefore difficult for drivers, as they have to conserve their cars and at the same time stay on the leading pace.”

With 187 competitive miles in store the International Rally Isle of Man is the longest in the BRC calendar, outside of the Wales Rally GB. The event starts from the famous Douglas TT Grandstand at 6.00 pm on Thursday and sees five stages before the overnight halt. A further 12 stages take place on Friday, with Saturday seeing another seven before the finish at 4.00 pm back in Douglas.

The Cirencester-based Mitsubishi Motors UK team is supported by: Pirelli, Rampage Performance Motorparts, Shell Helix, PIAA, Speedline Corse and Performance Friction Brakes. The team’s Lancer Evolution IXs are built by ADR Motorsport of Chesterfield, who are also responsible for running the cars on events.


Isle of Man to sort out the men from the boys.
BRC round three provides longest challenge.

The Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship faces the challenge of the season’s longest event, Rally Isle of Man, on August 3-5 and reigning champion and current points leader Mark Higgins will be eager to score another victory on what is his home rally.

Stobart VK Subaru driver Higgins currently leads the championship by a mere three points from Mitsubishi Motors UK’s Ryan Champion and for many two time BRC champion Higgins’ experience is the key to him being favourite of the BRC runners on the challenging tarmac roads around the island, including parts of the TT course. However he faces competition just as eager to displace the Isle of Man born driver from his championship top spot.

“It’s my home event and it’s always been good to me in the past,” says Higgins who now lives in Wales. As well as his BRC competition, Higgins faces the challenge of the WRC-spec cars of the Irish Tarmac Championship in the outright results. “An overall podium in the rally may be possible against the WRC cars and I can’t wait to be back on the event. It’s a fast rally, certainly one of the best tarmac rallies in the world.”

The Manx is longer than the other rallies which make up the six round British Rally Championship and the stages are famous the world over. It’s a rally that pays experience. “It’s the bumps that can catch you out,” continues Higgins, “and testing for the event is difficult as it’s unique. The only place you can test for the Manx is on the stages of the Manx and that’s a bit difficult!”

Although Higgins reckons experience of the event is needed, it is unlikely to be easy for the reigning champion despite what many may think as he faces a field of top level rally drivers, all who have experience on the event. “You need to have done the Manx a couple of times and then you know it well enough to win. Gwyndaf, Ryan, Rory, Jonny – all these guys know the event well so it’s going to be a real challenge and a treat for the fans.”

The championship this season is run to GpN and S1600 regulations and on control Tesco 99 Octane fuel which has meant competition as close as it can be – illustrated by the Jim Clark Rally where Higgins and Galligan tied exactly on time after 21 stages evoking the tie-break rule of fastest of the two on the first stage.

Challenging Higgins for the championship lead in the overall standings Ryan Champion sits a mere three points behind Higgins, not bad for a driver who’s drive comes as his prize for winning last season’s Mitsubishi Evo Challenge. Champion raised eyebrows by winning the season-opening Pirelli International Rally and took third of the BRC drivers on the Jim Clark.

“The Isle of Man should be good,” says Champion. “Mark’s probably expected to win the event so that helps us as we’ll be trying to beat him on his home rally. I’m going to tell him it should be easy for him to win and he should be at least a minute in the lead at the end of the first day. Trying to out-psych him will probably be the best way to beat him there!”

Champion won the Mitsubishi Evo Challenge round on the Manx National Rally last season as well as winning the Group N class so has good experience on the island. “It’s a classic BRC round. I can remember watching Tony Pond taking on Walter Rohl on the Manx and it hasn’t changed much since then. Our approach will be to start the safe side of flat out and not take too many chances, especially as it’s a long event. Then on the second day we can really push.”

Sitting in third in the standings and leading this year’s Mitsubishi Evo Challenge, is MSA British Rally Elite driver Stuart Jones in the SJR Hankook Mitusbishi Evo IX. Jones and team-mate Gwyndaf Evans come to the Manx after a successful tarmac test in Ireland. “I’m positive coming to the event as the test went really well,” says Jones. “The car was set too high on the Jim Clark and we worked on this and getting the set-up right. We made a lot of progress and the Hankook tyres impress us more every time we use them. I want to be as competitive as possible and we should be right on the button from the go this time.”

In fourth place in the standings it’s been a busy time for Zimbabwean driver Conrad Rautenbach who since the Jim Clark Rally has contested the Zambian International Rally and will contest the South Estonia Rally the weekend before heading to the Isle of Man.

Fifth in the standings, two time champion Jonny Milner hopes to have found extra pace from his Merlin Motorsport Tom Walkinshaw Group MSR-run Mitsubishi Evo IX for the event. “MSR are working flat out to find some more speed in the car, we’re looking for outright grunt and response in getting there,” says Milner who was forced to sit out last season due to budget constraints, but was able to return to the BRC thanks to the lower costs of the latest regs.

“I like the Manx, it’s a classic rally that hasn’t got any shorter over the years,” says Milner. “I’m extremely disappointed we haven’t been able to show our true pace so far this season but we’ve pulled out all the stops so hopefully we’ll be stronger this time.”

Currently seventh in the overall driver standings and leading the S1600 class is the ever rapid Guy Wilks who is contesting the championship in his ‘old’ Suzuki Ignis S1600. “I’m looking forward to the Manx,” says Wilks who currently leads the S1600 standings by five points from Barry Clark. “The Jim Clark didn’t really suit our car with the high speed straights but we peddled hard and got a good result. The Manx has plenty of tight twisty stuff and the narrow nimbleness of the Ignis should mean we go well.

Wilks has been a firm supporter of the latest BRC regulations and thinks a S1600 BRC victory could even be a possibility. “How close the times were on the Jim Clark showed the regulations are how it should be, it’s working. In the Isle of Man there are not so many long straights so it’s possible we could see a S1600 win, I normally go quite well there.”

Clark, who drives for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team, believes the team have put the problems they suffered on the Jim Clark Rally behind them. “We spent the Tuesday after the Jim Clark testing and we got the map perfect so we won’t be expecting any issues like that again,” says Clark of the engine map difficulties he experienced in Scotland.. “We worked on set-up as well and did a fair bit of work on the car, making good improvements for the Manx.

The Isle of Man provides stages which are a real challenge for drivers and Clark can’t wait to be out in action. “I love it over there,” he says. “Just everything about the event; the atmosphere is superb, the stages are fast and challenging and overall everything about it is fantastic. You’re flat out at 110mph in sixth with 10 foot banks alongside you either side, which is something that really concentrates the mind!”

Rally Isle of Man starts at the TT Grandstand at 18:00 on Thursday 3rd of August and finishes back there on Saturday after 188 competitive stage miles. The event will be televised on Sky Sports 2 on 7th August at 18:30 and then repeated across the Sky Sports channels.


O’Mahony and Higgins target first class win of the season in Isle of Man International Rally
Irish duo Brian O’Mahony and John Higgins are targeting their inaugural class victory of the season in the Isle of Man International Rally (August 3-5).

The Isle of Man International Rally is the third round of the British Rally Championship (BRC) and the sixth round of the Irish Tarmac Championship (ITC), meaning that for the second event in a row two sets of points are at stake for the Ford Puma crew, who are competing in both series’ this year and battling to retain their British Super 1600 Championship title and Irish Tarmac class A6 honours.

O’Mahony is currently sixth overall in the British Super 1600 drivers’ category whilst Higgins is sixth in the co-drivers section, each with 37 points. In the ITC, O’Mahony lies eighth in the A6 drivers’ leaderboard with Higgins ninth in the co-drivers table, each with 10 points, but they have yet to claim a win in either class this year.

The previous round of both championships, the Jim Clark International Rally in July, proved tough for the pair as a damaged suspension brought their rally to a premature end when they were lying in a comfortable third spot in the Super 1600 class and had been posting impressive times throughout the event. The crew were however classified 39th overall after taking advantage of the superally rules.

Now 21-year-old O’Mahony and 23-year-old Higgins will return to the wheel of their Team Birkbeck Rallysport-run Super 1600 Ford Puma, backed by OM Concrete Products and Kumho Tyres, for the 175 miles of stages across the closed asphalt roads on the Isle of Man in a bid to claim that elusive class win.

O’Mahony, from County Cork, said: “We haven’t won either of our classes yet this season so that is our ultimate aim this time out, to get a class victory. We finished 19th overall in the Isle of Man last year and second in the Super 1600 class and we’re hoping to get another good overall result this time out. It’s a great event and one I enjoy with its really fast tarmac stages, which will suit the setup of the Puma again, so we hope to be quick.”

Higgins, from County Mayo, said: “I always enjoy going to the Isle of Man as the stages are really fast. Hopefully we can get a class win as we have yet to do that this year and it would be good to get some maximum points on the board. We were far more competitive with the other Super 1600 cars across the tarmac on the Jim Clark Rally so we’re feeling upbeat heading into the event.”

One thing the crew will not be hoping to repeat this year in the Isle of Man is an incident involving their crash helmets. They arrived at the first stage of the final leg last year when just short of entering the time control they realised they had no helmets on board and had to make a quick dash all the way back to the Service Park at the TT Grandstand in Douglas.

O’Mahony explains: “For some reason we had taken the helmets out of the car the night before, which we don’t normally do, and neither John or I had put them back in. We set off as normal to go to the first stage on the Saturday but only realised just before we were about to go into the time control that we didn’t have them so we had to rush back to Douglas to collect them!

“We made it back to the stage start though, only picking up a one minute 10 second time penalty and continued. It was a freak incident, but it’s certainly not something we want to happen again this year!”

The Rally Isle of Man gets underway on the evening of Thursday 3 August


Rally Isle of Man – Leading Entries
Publication of the star-studded entry list for next weeks Rally Isle of Man shows that the reigning Pirelli Irish Tarmac Champions, Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely, will lead the field into action on Thursday evening.

The three day event is a round of both the premier British and Irish championships, but with the Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship making the Production category its top level this year, it is the world rally cars that are likely to fight for overall victory.

Donnelly will drive the same Toyota Corolla WRC that he used to take the runners-up spot last year, though that position was held by Kenny McKinstry and Noel Orr for much of the event. The pair return in a Subaru Impreza WRC for what is reported to perhaps be Kenny’s final bid to land the one major rally that had eluded him throughout his illustrious career.

Derek McGarrity, third twelve months ago and winner of the recent Jim Clark Memorial Rally, is seeded at 3 in another Subaru, with Eamonn Boland (Ford Focus WRC) next up as he continues his bid for a first Irish title.

Welshmen Mel Evans and Gareth Jones follow at numbers 5 and 6 in further Impreza’s and there’ll be plenty of attention behind on Norway’s Andrea Mikkelsen, making his first foray into international level competition in his 2005 Focus WRC.

Last years outright winner Mark Higgins predictably heads a simply stunning Production class field, listed at number 11 in his Stobart VK Subaru Impreza, though seeded right behind is his Jim Clark Rally nemesis, Irishman Rory Galligan in the works Mitsubishi Motors UK Evo IX.

Galligan’s team-mate, Pirelli International Rally winner Ryan Champion is next up, followed by former British champions Gwyndaf Evans and Jonny Milner who both also drive Misubishi’s.

Junior world championship contender Guy Wilks showed stunning pace in the borders lanes and is rewarded with as the top Super 1600 category seed in his Suzuki Ignis, with Czech driver Roman Kresta making his debut on the island in the Ford Fiesta.

The event, supported by TOTAL, covers almost 190 miles of stage action over three days.

Top 20
No. Driver/Co-Driver Car Group
1 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely Toyota Corolla WRC A8
2 Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr Subaru Impreza WRC A8
3 Derek McGarrity/Dairmuid Falvey Subaru Impreza WRC A8
4 Eamonn Boland/Francis Regan Ford Focus WRC A8
5 Melvyn Evans/Aled Davies Subaru Impreza WRC A8
6 Gareth Jones/David Moynihan Subaru Impreza WRC A8
7 Andreas Mikkelsen/Oza Floene Ford Focus WRC A8
8 Nigel Hicklin/Paddy Robinson Subaru Impreza WRC A8
9 Paddy White/Graeme Stewart Subaru Impreza WRC A8
10 John Cope/Tony Cope Subaru Impreza WRC A8
11 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy Subaru Impreza N12 N4
12 Rory Galligan/Greg Shinnors Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 N4
14 Ryan Champion/Craig Thorley Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 N4
15 Gwyndaf Evans/Huw Lewis Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 N4
16 Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh Suzuki Ignis S1600 A6
17 Jonny Milner/Nicky Beech Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 N4
18 Seamus Leonard/Gerrry McVeigh Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 N4
19 Stephen Petch/Michael Wilkinson Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 N4
20 Roman Kresta/Petr Gross Ford Fiesta S1600 A6
21 Colm Murphy/Gerald Loughrey Subaru Impreza N12 N4
Back-to-back rally challenge for Gareth
Gareth Jones will contest two of the world's biggest asphalt rallies within a week of each other, when he drives his JCB Finance/Kumho/Shell Donegal Oils-backed Subaru Impreza WRC2004 on the Manx International Rally (August 3-5) and the Rallye Deutschland (August 10-13).

The first event, which is run on the Isle of Man, is a round of the Pirelli Irish Tarmac and MSA British Rally Championships. Gareth has competed on the island twice before: last year he was lying 4th on the Manx International Rally when he crashed into a tree and i

Topics: Rally Isle of Man 

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