Latest News  Podium spot on Tunnocks Mull Rally
Thursday, October 18, 2012

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 Podium spot on Tunnocks Mull Rally... READ
Thursday, October 18, 2012
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012
 Solid Manx Stone as Fagg nets Fourth... READ
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 Short Tour of Epynt for Fagg... READ
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Archive News

By Kevin Myers

 

The 2012 Tunnocks Mull Rally was to be no easy affair for Isle of Man based rally co-driver Rob Fagg as he contested the event alongside Bury’s John Cope. The pair would suffer a broken driveshaft on their Cope Engineering Radcliffe Ltd Subaru Impreza WRC99 on the first stage of the Isle of Mull event but a spirited fight back saw the pair take the final podium position come the end of the event in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Despite Cope’s long association with the event and much experience, the pair who started the year on such a high winning the Isle of Man based Mann Construction Chris Kelly Memorial Stages, undertook a good recce of the islands roads to ensure they were best prepared for the 160 mile challenge ahead.

Along with this the Impreza had undergone a full re-prep following Julys Pokerstars Stages when the pair were not only forced into retirement with a driveshaft failure but also suffered handling issues which would have been sure to hamper their efforts on the Mull Rally.

The event got underway on Friday evening in wet conditions which would prove a challenge for all. For Cope and Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors supported Fagg it would not be long before they were in trouble, as they suffered a broken driveshaft with a third of the Mishnish Lochs six mile stage to go. This would see them only seventh quickest and some 19 seconds of the pace, but worse was still to come with no way to fix the problem they were forced to make slow progress through the 14.5 mile second stage, dropping them down the order to 17th overall almost two minutes behind the early leaders Callum and Ian Duffy in their Ford Escort MkII as the crews reached service.

With a further seven stages still to go in the opening leg, it was all about climbing the leaderboard for John and Rob now, and with top fives times, including two thirds, around the small stages at the bottom of the island they would move up six places to 11th overall which was soon to become seventh as the pair produced a strong run over the Scridain test.

But there was to be further drama, as they progressed through the eight mile Gribun Rocks stage, Cope would feel the handling of the car had deteriorated and there was certainly an issue, resulting a further time loss and seeing them drop to eighth and they would remain in this spot as the crews completed the final stage of the night, but now just under four minutes of the lead.

With hopefully all their bad luck behind them and a full check over of the car by the Geo Prep team, John and Rob would start the second leg on Saturday afternoon with joint quickest time, aiding their pursuit of those ahead. Second quickest over John’s favourite stage, the Mishnish Lochs, saw a jump to sixth spot and fourth quickest over the 22 mile Calgary Bay/Loch Tuath stage got them into fourth spot by just two seconds ahead of the events final four stages to be completed on Saturday Evening.

With those four stages to go totalling 40 miles, it was all about keeping hold of fourth position from Lewis Gallagher (Impreza) , who was just two seconds back, followed by Tristian Pye (Impreza) a further 23 seconds behind. Those gaps would increase to nine and 25 respectively before Pye reduced it back to 19 seconds with just two tests to go. John and Rob hit back on the penultimate stage, swopping a top three time to hold a 16 second lead on Gallagher and 29 second advantage over Pye with the 22.5 mile final stage to go. But the battle had now become for third following the unfortunate retirement of second placed Tony Bardy (Nissan Sunny).

The drama was not over though, and with an incident for Gallagher he would drop down the order and a subsequent delay for Pye, John and Rob would take the final podium position by the margin of 49 seconds to finish behind Callum and Iain Duffy, taking victory for the seventh time, and John McCrone (Ford Fiesta) with Stuart Loudon on the notes in second.

“What a rally, we had trouble at the start and to be honest we thought that was it, but the lads did a great job and kept us in the event” commented Rob following the event. “Both John and I are happy to make the finish after a run of two retirements and to get third after our problems on the opening leg is more than we were expecting, but this event has a habit of throwing up the unexpected and results can change dramatically from stage to stage. Well done to Callum and Iain and also to John and Stuart, great performances from them and well deserved results. We’ll have to see if we can bridge the gap next year!”

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