Latest News  Fagg takes fifth alongside committed Newby
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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Archive News

By Paul Marriott
www.paulmpix.com
 

The return of Rally Isle of Man to the UK’s calendar in 2012 will sure be one to remember for Isle of Man based co-driver Rob Fagg. The 33 year old Kirk Michael resident contested the DUKE Stages section of the event alongside up and coming British Rally Championship regular Arron Newby, and together they achieved a very pleasing fifth place.

The event, the penultimate round of the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship – a series Rob still had a chance of winning for a fourth time, saw the pair competing together for the first time and with the Pirelli Tyres and Sunoco Fuels backed Subaru Impreza N11 at their disposal run by leading preparation company TEG Sport there was hope of putting in a strong performance.

Having gelled well during the events reconnaissance period, 17 year old Arron and Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors supported Rob would start the opening leg on Thursday evening with confidence but also knew they must err on the side of caution as rain fell making the short stages tricky. Despite this they would emerge unscathed and sit in 13th Overall, not bad for Arron’s first time in the car on closed roads.

As Friday morning arrived crews were greeted with bright skies and no sign of the previous day’s heavy rain. The opening stage of the day saw a run down Tholt-y-Will, a stage not run since 2004, and a cautious approach saw 10th quickest time posted. It’s was from here the youngster really found his feet and on the next stage a committed drive was rewarded with seventh quickest, bringing a jump up to ninth which then became seventh as crews hit the first service of the day.

The next loop would see the new pairing drop a place as the recovering Paul Bird (Ford Focus WRC) passed them with top times over the two tests. But it was to be Stage 11, the second pass of the 11 mile Sllim God stage, where Newby would impress – beating much more experience local drivers with a top 3 time, just 15 seconds of the rally leader Nigel Cannell and in the process jump to sixth place as Peter Jackson (Ford Escort) and Steve Colley (Evo 8) were passed, the latter through retirement.

The final loop on Friday saw two runs through the historic Castletown stage included, although with extend runs new for this year. Arron and Rob were on it again to set fourth quickest and as they completed the evening they sat in sixth position, 54.9 seconds back from Sean Kelly (Evo 7) and with Andrew Leece (Evo 6) a further 50.9 behind.

The final leg again was contested under bright skies, and although happy with the pace and position, Newby was looking to bridge the gap to Kelly, although under the watchful eye of Fagg controlling him when needs must. A quick loop of two saw the gap reduce by 8.4 seconds followed by an impressive 19.8 over the next three – effectively reducing the gap by half, and still with 45 seconds back to Leece. But they were now up to fifth following the retirement of leader Bird, off the road in Kella.

With two of the remaining five stages cancelled unfortunately the battle would come down to the final stage but it was advantage Kelly with a lead of 17.9 seconds and 13 miles of the Classic stage in wait. The plan in the Pirelli/Sunoco Impreza was to reach the finish and no risks. The approach would see them quicker than Kelly but by only 2.4 seconds as they set third quickest time to reach the finish in a more than impressive fifth place as Rob explained.

“What an event and what a driver – Rally Isle of Man can build from this weekend and so can Arron,” Rob commented. “The stages which have been on offer at the price can not be beaten in the UK, OK some may say I am biased living here but others will say the same, well done to the organisers. As for Arron, just look at the times he has set, in a car which he has never driven on a closed road until Thursday night in appalling conditions. Once the roads dried he showed to people what he can do and to set top three times beating the more experienced locals is a fantastic achievement, he certainly has reason to be proud of himself as to the TEG Sport team for a great car which did not miss a beat all weekend.”

The event was won by the local pairing of Steve Quine and Richard Skinner (Evo 6) ahead of Nigel and Michaela Cannell (Evo 9) 45.3 seconds back and rounding out an all local podium were George Collister and Janet Craine (Evo 3).

Rob is supported in 2012 by Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors, Nicky Grist Motorsport (
www.nickygrist.com) and Fastime Stopwatches (www.astopwatch.com)

Arron is supported by Pirelli Tyres, TEG Sport, Robert Wiseman Diaries, Sunoco Race Fuels, Speedline Corse, Cobra, Schroth Racing, SPAR and Ravenol.