Title looms for the consistent Mann. The KUMHO National Rally Championship circus moves north to the forests of South West Scotland this weekend, as the hotly contested series visits Newton Stewart for the Park Systems Furniture Stages. David...
Title looms for the consistent Mann.
The KUMHO National Rally Championship circus moves north to the forests of South West Scotland this weekend, as the hotly contested series visits Newton Stewart for the Park Systems Furniture Stages.
David Mann of Flixton in Suffolk is the "Mann" to watch on this event. Even if second placed Brendan Crealey wins the rally outright, Mann needs only to finish within the top six of the rally to be assured of the KUMHO National Rally Championship crown. As a result, 2003 Roush Manx Rally winner Mann and Caerphilly co-driver Alun Cook are looking forward to their visit north:
"To win another round would be a bonus but it's unlikely this time as, knowing all we need to take the championship is to get a reasonable finish, we have to drive with our heads a bit" said David.
As for Ulsterman Crealey, he has a championship of his own to concentrate on. Brendan has been the class of the field in both the Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge and the KUMHO Production Cup this year. Few would bet against Brendan and Steve Harris claiming both titles on this event. Crealey will certainly be trying to grab an overall win in his ADR run Lancer Evo VII.
Chasing Mann hard on the event will be Roger Duckworth, Raymond Munro, and Steve Petch. Duckworth is in the very best of form. Outright wins on the Mutiny and Swansea Bay Rally have strengthened his championship position considerably. Petch was unlucky to retire in Swansea with transmission failure, whilst Munro, the Scottish Rally Champion, is making a return to the series on home soil. Raymond way well be the man to beat this weekend.
Martyn Harrison makes the journey up from Yorkshire in his Metro 6R4. Martyn disappointed to not finish the last event after consistent top five finishes this year. Chasing him for a spot in the top ten will be the other leading Group N campaigners, Paul Wedgebury, Anthony Wilmington, and Steve Palmer. Palmer was in excellent form in Swansea, making a strong comeback after a heavy roll on the Mutiny Rally. "Wilmo" is the only driver capable of beating Crealey for Evo Challenge title honours, but the Dorchester man knows that the odds are well and truly stacked against him. Wedgebury has been a strong performer all year, but a chronic misfire on the last round didn't help his cause.
Junior, F2 and A7 champion Craig Middleton is not making the journey north with his Hyundai up for sale, so Huddersfield's Ian Barrett finally has the chance to claim maximum points in the Junior category after a frustrating year of mechanical problems.
Super 1600 will see Andy Gwynne and Mike Coomber battling it out for honours once more. Coomber taking the honours on the last round after Gwynne was forced out with fuel related problems. The championship still well and truly up for grabs between the pair.
In Class N3, Dave and Pamela Hull have not entered, allowing the way clear for Steve Blunt and Bob Duck to claim the championship honours in their Peugeot 306 S16 after a fine year. If Blunt may be able to relax on this event, Class A5 sees a number of drivers battling for honours. Steven Petch won the class in Swansea, breaking his run of bad luck this year. Petch will be doing battle with Ed Stallard and Kevin Wills once again as all three look to continue their season long fight.
Event information will be available on www.parkstages.com and on www.kumhorally.info