ITRC: Roush Manx Rally preview

Andrew Burton is the form man in this years KUMHO National Rally Championship, as the UK's leading national rally series heads to the motorsport mad Isle of Man for the Roush Manx Rally on May 9th/10th based at the world famous TT Grandstands in...

Andrew Burton is the form man in this years KUMHO National Rally Championship, as the UK's leading national rally series heads to the motorsport mad Isle of Man for the Roush Manx Rally on May 9th/10th based at the world famous TT Grandstands in the Island's capital, Douglas.

The Lyonshall potatoe farmer has been Mr. Consistent so far in the series, with runner up spot on the opening Rallye Sunseeker, and an excellent win on the most recent round, the Astra Stages. Burton overcame a puncture and the dry and dusty conditions to take a well earned victory in his raucous Peugeot Cosworth, with Welsh co-driver John H Roberts also delighted to have taken his first ever overall win on the event in the crowd pleasing machine.

Hot on their heels in the points table is the flying Scotsman himself - Raymond Munro. The Inverness man is dominating the Scottish Rally Championship this year with 3 wins out of 3. His KUMHO series form is equally impressive, the Scot just 8 points behind Burton after an impressive start to the year in his Europcar backed Subaru Impreza WRC.

Never far from the top of any leaderboard is David Mann. The KUMHO backed mushroom farmer from Norfolk had a frustrating Astra Stages. Blindingly quick, the Bungay driver and co-driver Alun Cook from Caerphilly were denied a higher finish than their eventual 5th after being stuck in Burton's dust when he punctured.

Next up on the championship leaderboard is Bob Ceen. The Malvern driver stunned rivals and spectators alike with a terrific drive to 2nd place on the Astra Stages in his ex-Carlos Sainz Subaru Impreza 555. With a solid points scoring finish on the Sunseeker in the bag as well, Bob now holds a strong 4th in the overall standings.

Yorkshireman Martyn Harrison is another one to watch on the Manx. The MG Metro 6R4 driver has been consistently quick with top co-driver Stewart Merry guiding him through the stages. In a newly built version of the 80's classic rally car, Martyn would have been in the Top 5 on the Astra but for a broken anti roll bar and a puncture. The pair hold an excellent 5th in the championship after two rounds.

Marcus Dodd is a man to keep an eye on for the Manx. The Poole driver has the best car and a lot of talent behind the wheel, as he demonstrated on the Rallye Sunseeker - his local event. Dodd took the win from Burton, and was leading the Astra Stages until a puncture and then a broken steering arm eventually forced him to retire.

7th in the points standings is the first of the Group N drivers - the full value Brendan Crealey. Always worth watching on the stages, the popular Irishman from Portadown was in superb form on the recent Astra Stages. Crealey and co-driver Steve Harris edged out Nik Elsmore and Paul Alexander for the Production Cup honours.

Alexander comes to the Manx with a brand new sponsor on board in the shape of Purple Loans. The finance company impressed with Paul's category win on the opening Rallye Sunseeker, and his 3rd in Group N on the Astra. Paul and co-driver Jakes Kelly were unlucky to receive a time penalty, whilst a broken centre diff was perhaps more of a concern to the Hertfordshire driver.

Closing out the top ten are two popular competitors. In 9th is Scorton's Steve Petch, the Hyundai Accent WRC driver denied by a transmission failure in Bournemouth, but back on form in North Wales as he took 4th overall in the lovely SG Petch backed machine. Equal on points with Petch is another Irishman, Ollie O' Donovan. Ollie spends most of his days digging up the streets of London, but at weekend's the jovial West Drayton man brings his Subaru Impreza 555 out to play. Expect Ollie to be on the pace this weekend!

In the classes, the KUMHO Junior Championship award is a two man show, with Matador backed driver Craig Middleton six points ahead of the Subaru Impreza mounted Ian Barrett. The battle of the 2wd Hyundai of Middleton and the 4wd Clothing Team backed machine of Barrett should be a battle to savour this weekend.

Mark Annand/Geraint Lloyd Williams are in top form in the smallest class. The N1 leaders yet to be challenged on an event in their Polo 16v. Andy Gwynne and Holly Robinson are leading the way in Super 1600 in their Corsa, with Craig Middleton once again leading the Formula 2 category.

Class A5 sees Ed Stallard ahead with John Youd alongside. Works SKODA team Iain Freestone/Nick Kennedy have shown plenty of pace this year but the Fabia 1400 is suffering with early teething troubles. Class N3 is currently heading in the favour of Steve Blunt in his Peugeot 306. KUMHO regulars Dave/Pamela Hull have led the category on both rallies so far this year, but mechanical problems have meant their Astra GSi is yet to finish a round. Class B11 is the battle of the venerable Ford Escort RS, and both Rob Archer and David Young are sharing the points at this early stage.

In the Ladies Category, Mandy Roberts leads the Silverstone RallySchool Ladies Award for drivers, with Anne Watson leading the way from Holly Robinson in the Co-drivers championship.

<pre> KUMHO National Championship - Tables after Round Two:

1    Andy Burton           47
2    Raymond Munro         39
3    David Mann            38
4    Bob Ceen              33
5    Martyn Harrison       32
6    Marcus Dodd           25
7    Brendan Crealey       23
8    Paul Alexander        20
9    Steve Petch           19
10   Ollie O'Donovan       19

-knrc-

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Nick Kennedy , Carlos Sainz , Marcus Dodd , Andrew Burton , Ollie O'Donovan
Teams Williams