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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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Archive News

By Lyndon March


Last weekends Tour of Epynt did not provide the start to the REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Championship that Manx rally co-driver Rob Fagg had been hoping for. Competing on the Llandovery based event with Blackburn’s John Stone in the Legend Fires backed CA1 Sport prepared Skoda Fabia WRC, the pair would be sidelined at first service with clutch failure.

Despite their early exit, Stone and Synergy IT supported Fagg managed to complete two of the events seven tests over the welsh military ranges, although the second hampered through the issue with the clutch.

Crews were greeted in the morning with the same mist which had been in attendance the previous day for the stage reconnaissance and was raising some concerns with the limited visibility.

This concern was to be unfounded as the opening test got underway with bright skies which as the day progressed would only get brighter and temperature hotter.

Following a confidence inspiring reconnaissance the previous day, John and Rob set off into the six miler opener. Despite exercising a bit of caution due to sections of the stage proving to be offering less grip than others following the overnight cold conditions, they would post a pleasing fifth fastest time, 18 seconds of pace setter and 2011 series champion Damian Cole in his Ford Focus WRC05 who was eight quicker than anyone else.

Unfortunately it was as they prepared to start the 11 mile second stage that their problems became apparent. As launch control failed Stone and Fagg crept off the start line and progressed through the stage with a little bit of apprehension as thoughts turned to what the problem could be. Completing the stage tenth fastest and as a result dropping to ninth overall it was obvious the clutch was not as it should be.

On arrival at service the CA1 Sport team set about tracing and resolving the issue but despite quickly identifying the problem a resolution was not available and it would be an early exit for John and
Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors backed Rob and not the start they were looking for in the championship.

“We are both obviously very disappointed to be out of the season opener so early” commented Rob, “We had a good recce yesterday and using the notes from last year we both had a good confidence coming into today. But it’s one of those things and you have to take away the positives that the car is in one piece and felt good on the first stage.”

The Tour of Epynt would be won by former asphalt champion Mel Evans and Aled Davies in their Subaru Impreza S12b followed home by reigning champion Cole (Ford Focus WRC) with Peter Lloyd (Subaru Impreza S14) completing the podium.

The championship now takes a short break until the second round at the start of May, when crews will resume battle on Rob’s home event on the Isle of Man, the Manx National Rally, and an event Rob is looking forward to.

“May can not come quick enough for me, I am just hoping for better luck on this years event after failing to even make the start last year” Rob explained, “I was due to compete with Stephen Simpson in his Impreza WRC but unfortunately we would experiencing an issue with the clutch on the way to the start. Hopefully John and I will be able to have better luck and get our championship challenge out of the starting blocks.

With the REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Championship once again been covered for the Special Stage Review programme which is broadcast on Motors TV and the Manx offering local advertising, Rob would be keen to hear from anyone who feels they can help him with his costs of competing on his home round of the championship, and contributing towards his season. Anyone able to help can contact Rob by e-mail on or on (07624) 480101

Rob is supported in 2012 by
Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors, Synergy IT (, Nicky Grist Motorsport ( and Fastime Stopwatches (