Arron Newby, still only 18 years old, continued his winning sequence with the biggest victory of his career on the three-day Manx International Rally section of the weekend’s Rally Isle of Man, powered by Microgaming.
The Carnforth TEG Sport Subaru pilot and Manx co-driver Rob Fagg took the lead on Friday afternoon and carried a 1 minute 39 second advantage into Saturday’s final eight stages. Newby showed real maturity to drive conservatively, fastest on just two tests on the day, to conclude with a 2 minute 20.1 second victory and become the youngest winner of the event.
Behind there was a frantic scrap for the remaining podium places, Andrew Leece and Graham Fargher were unable to drive fully after Friday’s roll in their Evo VI, leaving their second place in danger of crews looming behind.
They held on admirably for the first half of the day before being overhauled by Steve Colley/Andrew Cowley (Evo VIII) on SS24 Sand Quarry and then last year’s winners Steve Quine/Richard Skinner (Evo IX) one stage later, Quine having finally found a suspension set-up to his liking.
The drive of the day, however, was already coming from Connor Corkill and Mark Perryman (Subaru), setting a string of fastest times to also close on the gaggle ahead of them. They ultimately passed Leece on the penultimate stage, SS26 Dollagh to finish fourth, running out of stages to grab a podium.
Ahead of them, however, the battle continued to rage between Colley and Quine, swapping second place almost by the stage, with Colley admitting to being at ‘11 10ths’! Ultimately Quine got the better, by just four 10ths of a second after two and three-quarter hours of rallying! Corkill was himself just 14s further back.
Darren Atkinson and Phil Sandham (Escot MkII) were the leading two-wheel drive crew in sixth place while early leaders Nigel and Michaela Cannell (Evo IX) used super rally rules to rejoin and take seventh spot after Friday’s gearbox problems, winning Saturday’s round of the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally Championship in the process.
A blocked fuel filter delayed Sean Kelly/Emma Kennuagh (Evo VI) throughout the first half of the rally, but they improved to eighth by the finish, ahead of George Collister/Janet Craine, who had the better of an event-long BMW battle with close friends Kex Walker/Dannii Matthews by just 2.7 seconds in a rally of close finishes.
There was no doubt about the star of the rally however. ‘The team has done brilliantly,’ said Newby. ‘Without the differential change last night we wouldn’t be here now. You look at the names on that trophy for this rally and it’s amazing. It’s been three long, hard days and everyone who’s got to the finish deserves a medal!’
Ulsterman Ryan Barrett and locally based co-drover Paul McCann (MkII Ford Escort) swept to a comfortable victory on the historic Rallee Classicagh section of Rally Isle of Man, while Pat Bettridge/Paul Gelling (Subaru) were fastest on six of the days eight stages to take a dominant win in the Manx Trophy Rally.
Loads more Rally Isle of Man coverage in Monday’s Isle of Man Examiner and Thursday’s Manx Independent.