Mann now at very long odds after not such a grand day in the national David Mann has been left a mountain to climb in order to defend his Kumho Tyres National Rally Championship after his hopes of making up for a frustrating first...
Mann now at very long odds after not such a grand day in the national
David Mann has been left a mountain to climb in order to defend his Kumho Tyres National Rally Championship after his hopes of making up for a frustrating first round were wrecked by mechanical misfortune on this Saturday's (April 3) second round.
Mann, from Flixton, Bungay, and Caerphilly co-driver Alun Cook's dreams of a good result at the Astra Stages National Rally in North Wales were scuppered before their Kumho-backed Subaru Impreza WRC turned a wheel in anger.
A desperately disappointed Mann was home in East Anglia long before the rally, 230 miles away, had even reached its conclusion. Having also suffered transmission trouble throughout a curtailed test session a couple of weeks ago, the usually upbeat and optimistic mushroom farmer explained
"We had run out in the car at Corwen on Friday morning to make sure we'd ironed out the transmission problems we experienced at a test session a couple of weeks ago but on the second run the engine lost power and stopped completely.
"We managed to borrow an engine from Phil Morgan who had a car at Lampeter in South Wales, so one of our mechanics drove down and took the engine out of that. Meanwhile another mechanic took our rally car to Guy Woodcock's workshop near Chester and swapped the engines and did a miraculous job to finally get it all running about three o'clock this morning.
"It drove OK but when they inspected the data log, there was still a sparking problem. So we took the car out towards the first stage and they tried a few more things but to no avail so, not wanting to damage a second engine, we never actually started it."
The upshot is two out of seven rounds without a competitive score on the board for the reigning champions and, even with only six scores to count, the odds are now stacked against
"I never give up but our confidence is a bit low at the moment and we obviously need a lot of things to go right from here on in."
Providing the mechanical problems with their WRC can be rectified, Mann and Cook will definitely be on the start ramp for the Roush Manx National Rally - round three of the Kumho Championship, on May 7/8 - a rally they magnificently won outright on the way to the title 12 months ago.
Mann only acquired the car during the winter to replace their championship- winning but older Impreza.
He added: "Andy Card was planning a complete engine rebuild after this rally anyway at his workshops in Newbridge. He is distraught by what's happened. He's worked on Subarus for years and says he's never known a run of problems like it!"
In Mann's absence Andrew Burton, driving a Peugeot Cosworth, went on to win the Astra Stages Rally for the second successive year, with Roger Duckworth, whom Mann pipped to the title last year, maintaining his lead in the Kumho Championship.