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Archive News

By John Watterson
 

Isle of Man co-driver Rob Fagg experienced a disappointing exit from last weekend’s Manx National Rally as he was sidelined midway through the event while holding onto a top five placing. Competing alongside 18 year old Carnforth driver Arron Newby the pairing were looking to build on their successful start to the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship but it was more a case of what could have been.

Victory on the opening round, the Chris Kelly Memorial Rally, back in February saw Newby and 33 year old Fagg enter the event as series leaders but this round offered the extra incentive of battling with the stars from the REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Championship.

A steady start over the opening test, Glen Roy 1, in dry and bright conditions saw the Pirelli sponsored TEG Sport Subaru Impreza crew 9th quickest but just 0.9 seconds behind reigning Manx Champion Nigel Cannell in his Mitsubishi Evo 9. Over the next short stage around Maughold, a top five time was enough to see a jump up the leaderboard to fifth before a third and fifth quickest times around the spectator stage in Ramsey elevated Newby and Fagg into the top four.

But such was the closeness of the crews at this stage of the event they would dropdown to sixth as crews entered service for the first time although just 2.4 seconds off fourth which was behind held by Jason Pritchard (Ford Focus WRC) following the new Ballure test.

With just two stages left before the overnight halt, following the

cancellation of the final test due to an incident on the first run, top five times were good enough to leave the VP Racing Fuels powered crew in the top five and leading Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship crew.

Crews were greeted for Saturday’s restart with heavy rain continuing from overnight as well as mist on the high ground, both of which would make the days stages tougher.

It was to be within the first loop of four stages that would bring an end to Newby and Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors backed Fagg’s rally. First up was Druidale, and despite visibility being hampered and sections covered in standing water, were able to set a respectable time although the hard charging Cannell had cut their overnight lead by 14.5 seconds and a further 8.7 seconds on the tricky Curraghs stage.

They would hit back over Tholt-y-Will and Creg-na-Baa though, restoring 6.3 seconds to hold a 13.6 lead over the chasing Cannell and to also remain in fifth spot overall just 6.1 second back from the two times and reigning MSA Asphalt Champion Damian Cole (Ford Focus WRC). But as the crews headed for service this would be the end for the Pirelli TEG Sport crew.

During routine checks it was found that the Impreza had suffered damage to the fuel tank guard and on further investigation it was found that the tank itself had suffered damage and was leaking fuel. With no way to repair the car, the team deemed it too dangerous to continue in the event and in disappointing circumstance were forced to retire from the event.

“Of course both Arron and I are very disappointed with the outcome today, we were in a strong position to score further points the Manx Championship as well as achieve a good overall result” commented Rob. “It is a bitter blow for not just us but for the whole team who put so much work into the car and also for our sponsors. On a positive side we showed real pace this weekend within very competitive company and Arron is growing with confidence each mile we do.”

Next up for Arron and Rob is a trip to the Scottish Borders for the Jim Clark Memorial Rally which takes place over two days from Friday May 31st to Saturday June 1st. The event based in Kelso from the town’s Racecourse will pit crews against each other over 16 stages totalling 135 miles of which some will be encountered in dusk if not darkness. One thing is for sure; both Arron and Rob will be keen to put last weekend’s disappointment behind them.


The team are supported in 2013 by Pirelli, TEG Sport (
www.tegsport.co.uk), VP Racing Fuels, Speedline Corse, Cobra Seats, Schroth Racing, PIAA, Ravenol, Border Embroideries and Nicky Grist Motorsport.

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