It may not have been an epic battle nor was it, for that matter, another crushing demonstration by Andrew Nesbitt, but this years Manx Rally was important nonetheless. And when, as seems increasingly likely, the Armagh man clinches his second ...
It may not have been an epic battle nor was it, for that matter, another crushing demonstration by Andrew Nesbitt, but this years Manx Rally was important nonetheless. And when, as seems increasingly likely, the Armagh man clinches his second Toshiba Tarmac title, he will look back on the Manx as being another in an impressively long list of sound decisions. On the road, the event belonged to Mark Higgins; the local man took command on the first day in his DGM Toyota Corolla WRC and never let go, eventually building up a lead of almost five minutes.
Behind him, Jonny Milner led the chase for much of the event in his similar car, but third throughout was Nesbitt's Cuisine de France Impreza, and when Milner was hit by gearbox problems towards the end, it was the Armagh man who profited. But in many ways, second to Higgins was a bonus for Nesbitt, who, as the leading registered Toshiba Tarmac contender, had been in a maximum points scoring position throughout. Jonny Milner brought his Toyote Corolla home third, while David Higgins came home fourth, just ahead of Eamonn Boland. As the second Toshiba contender home, Boland took runner-up points to Nesbitt, strengthening his hold on second place in the Championship while third place points go to Alistair Ginley, who also finished seventh overall in his Mitsubishi behind the leading Super 1600, Justin Dale's Peugeot, and second in Group N, just 30 seconds ahead of Trevor Cathers. Dickie Curran was also in the thick of the action for most of the event, and his Mitsubishi was well inside the top 10 before a heavy accident on the final day put him out. Robert Woodside Jnr was another not to make the finish, his Impreza WRC going out on the first stage with hub problems after a heavy landing. Austin McHale's name appeared on the entry list, but the man himself was not in evidence at the start.
The focus now shifts to the Ulster in early September where battle will be rejoined. Once again, as a round of the British Championship, the Super 1600s will lead the field away, but the WRC entry promises to be stronger than ever for this short, sharp event. Can Nesbitt keep his perfect scoring record? Will Derek McGarrity return to mount a challenge? And what about Eamonn Boland. He must be due for a win soon?
We'll know the answers in a month--