Latest News  Fagg ends up ditched in Ireland!
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Thursday, April 28, 2011
By Peespeed Photography

It was to be a disappointing early exit for Manx rally co-driver Rob Fagg on last weekends Monaghan Stages. Competing alongside Blackburn’s John Stone in the CA1 Sport-prepared and run Legends Fires backed Skoda Fabia WRC, they unfortunately retired on stage 4 of the event after becoming stuck in a ditch.

Following a successful reconnaissance of the events three stages the pair were confident the event would offer an ideal test ahead of next months Manx Telecom Rally, despite the fast nature of the roads.

“We were both quite taken by the sheer speed we would be reaching when we completed the first recce pass of stage one but by the end of the three passes it did not seem as daunting” commented Rob. “But the stages are also similar to back home (Isle of Man), with the fast sections and the tight and twisty ones also having hidden bumps and so it will help to get an improved set-up for the Manx.”

The event got underway from the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan in similar warm bright conditions as had been in place the previous day for the recce ensuring there were no major hidden surprises ahead of them through changes in weather.

But Stone and Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors-supported Fagg would not even reach the start line of the first stage before they hit trouble. The hydraulic gear shift system on the Fabia failed leaving the pair unable to shift up or down the gearbox and although able to use the manual shift, this was more a get me home option and not ideal to tackle the first loop totalling 52km.

They would eventually start the first stage following frantic calls back to the CA1 Sport team in service, and it seemed the problem was resolved as they left the line. Despite this the pair proceeded with caution for the first loop of three stages, with only one moment as they braked down from sixth for a hairpin on Stage two and the problem reoccurring. They would enter service in 20th position from the 140 car entry.

The team worked to resolve the gear shift issues as well as make some suspension changes in an aid to improve the handling of the car on the bumpy Irish roads.

Both seemed to have made a difference as the pair headed into the second loop with more confidence, improving their first stage time by 30 seconds. But the run was sadly to come to an end early on stage five when they entered a corner too quickly and ended up stuck off the road in a ditch, an unfortunate end to what was becoming a promising run.

While both members of the crew were disappointed with the early exit, there was also the positive that developments had been made to the set-up.

“It’s a shame the event has come to an early end for us, especially as the changes to the car had made such a positive step forward with the set-up” explained Rob, “The time improvement on stage 4 showed the increase in confidence and the run up to the off felt good as well, luckily we missed the tree which would have been sure to cause major damage to the car.”

The event was eventually won by leading Irish Tarmac driver Tim McNulty in his Subaru Impreza WRC followed home by Niall Mcguire in another Impreza and completing the podium Rober Barrable in a Skoda Fabia S2000.

Next up in the calendar for Rob is the Pirelli International Rally, the third round of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, which he will contest with 17 year old Welshman Nick Cristofaro in his Ford Fiesta ST.

Rob is supported in 2011 by Cannon Tech. (Scotland) Ltd (, Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors, Synergy IT (, Cable Design Services (, Holton Homes (, Nicky Grist Motorsport ( and Fastime Stopwatches (