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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Archive News

By Jacob Ebrey
www.jakobebrey.com

 

Isle of Man resident rally co-driver Rob Fagg achieved an impressive seventh overall finish on last weekend’s Jim Clark National Rally putting behind him the disappointment of retiring last time out on the Manx National Rally. Competing alongside Lancashire teenager Arron Newby on the Scottish Borders event, the pair were looking to once again compare themselves to the stars of the REIS Get Connected MSA Asphalt Championship.

The event itself offers its own unique challenge with stages encompassing high speeds and blind crests making it a tricky test and when affected by rain the surface can turn as slippery as ice, giving the crews another factor to contend with. Add to that twelve months previous both Arron and Rob retried from this event in spectacular fashion although competing separately, the pre-event reconnaissance would present an ideal opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the Borders tarmac roads.

Getting underway on Friday evening in dry conditions it was a short 1.2 mile blast through Duns from which Arron and Rob would emerge joint ninth fastest. The rally proper was to then get underway with the longest stage of the event, 15.88miles of Abbey St Bathans a stage with a bit of everything in it. For the TEG Sport pairing though a moment mid way through, saved by Newby, dented confidence and left the pair down in 16th place overall. A position that they would continue to occupy after the final stage, Tweedside, of the evening before the overnight halt but the gap to seventh was just 26 seconds.

Following the overnight break and the Pirelli backed VP Fuels powered Impreza all re-prepared, it was back to business for Newby and Robert Graham & Co Quantity Surveyors-backed Fagg. With the first stage of the day, Eccles, cancelled by organisors due to safety concerns it would be the 11mile Swinton test which would get the day underway in wet conditions following overnight and continuing rain over the stages.

11th quickest over the wet stage saw a leap up the leaderboard to 11th which would become 10th following Edrom, the stage which claimed the pair in 2012 and soon that would become 9th despite receiving a notional time on stage 10 Ayton 1 due to the unfortunate car destroying fire for local Dale Robertson.

With the focus on climbing the leaderboard as well as ensuring a finish of the event, Arron and Rob found themselves in a battle with the crew of John Cope and Neil Coleman in their Subaru Impreza WRC99, the gap just 0.4 of a  second as they entered service following the Langton stage.

A repeat of the loop of three stages was next, Edrom – Ayton – Langton, and having switched to a slick tyre as the roads dried allowed the gap to Cope to be increased to 12.5 seconds mainly due to a top ten time on Ayton as well as gaining another position overall to move to 8th. Eccles would once again be cancelled leaving just a second run through Swinton before the end of the event and despite a mid stage rain fall Arron and Rob would complete the event in seventh overall holding of a charging Cope by 4.6 seconds as crews returning to the host town of Kelso while also claiming the class win.

“It’s great to get a finish under are belts after the disappointment of the Manx” commented Rob at the finish. “The car as always has run faultless and that’s credit to the TEG Sport team while the Pirelli tyres have really done us proud in the different conditions giving Arron the confidence to push and rely on the grip they offer. Once again we have been able to compare ourselves against the MSA Asphalt crews and on an event which Arron had a big accident last year he has once again showed he has maturity and speed rewarding him with this result.”

While the pair’s next event has not been 100% confirmed yet, it is confirmed that they will miss the third round of the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship, the 4hire Jurby Stages. This event was always planned to be a dropped round for the pair with Arron already having a prior commitment coinciding with the event.

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)