McCLOSKEY SIXTH ON ISLE OF MAN Connor McCloskey and Robbie Durant scored their best result of the 2007 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship season with sixth place on the third round of the series, Rally Isle of Man. The result...
McCLOSKEY SIXTH ON ISLE OF MAN
Connor McCloskey and Robbie Durant scored their best result of the 2007 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship season with sixth place on the third round of the series, Rally Isle of Man.
The result comes after a difficult season for the young Northern Irish driver, but a new Mitsubishi Evolution 9 was obviously the catalyst he needed. "The car is not entirely new," said Connor before the start, "We have used some components off the old Evo but it will still take a little while to get the setup sorted for the Manx lanes."
Fifth fastest on the short opening stage through Castletown set the pair up to lie ninth placed BRC crew at the Thursday night end of leg halt. They were consistently quick on the four stages, never out of the top ten and even Connor was surprised at the pace of the car so soon, "I think we'll be changing suspension settings all rally before we get it spot on," he said, "but the Isle of Man has so many different characteristics, I'm not sure you can ever have one setting to suit the whole rally."
Friday morning's weather was unpredictable but it was not the intermittently slippery roads that caused Connor and Robbie's time loss as they arrived at the lunchtime service halt in Douglas, "We broke a driveshaft on the start line of stage seven," said a downbeat Connor, "it has cost us about four minutes in the stage and we nearly didn't make it back here. The loss of drive meant we struggled up some of the bigger hills on the road section."
The next loop saw them push hard, setting fourth fastest BRC time on stage ten, with just two former British Champions and Guy Wilks faster. The push left them eighth British Rally Championship crew but the fight for Irish Tarmac Championship class points would go to James Cullen after the time loss on stage seven.
A level headed approach to the final day's rallying put the crew's Mitsubishi in an excellent and well deserved sixth place in the BRC standings and thirteenth overall. After a trying start to the season the result has reassured the youngster and also places him fifth in Group N4 in the Irish Tarmac Championship.
Testing in Ireland in two weeks comes before the next round of the British and Irish Championships, the Ulster Rally in Armagh. The last all asphalt event of the season takes place on the last weekend of August, running into the first day of September.