Melvyn Evans and co-driver Aled Davies have won the Manx National Rally in their Subaru Impreza WRC.
It was Evans’ second consecutive victory, and fourth in total, leaving him one short of the all-time record of five set by Ulsterman Kenny McKinstry.
After seeing off the challenge of former winners Paul Bird and Kirsty Riddick, Evans has set his sights on the history books.
Should he return next year, he’d also become the first driver to take a hat-trick of wins on the Isle of Man (audio file attached):
Bird and Riddick had actually posted the fastest times through the two stages in Port Erin on Friday evening to put their Ford Focus WRC into a short-lived lead.
However, Evans then pulled ahead of them on the next and maintained station throughout the remaining 17 stages.
After 115 miles of special stages on the closed public roads, Evans’ winning margin was 78 seconds from Bird, with Damian Cole/James Morgan finishing third in their Ford Focus WRC.
John Stone and Kirk Michael co-driver Rob Fagg were a solid fourth in their Skoda Fabia WRC and Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh (Subaru Impreza WRC) overhauled Andrew Leece/Graham Fargher (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO6) with a few stages to go for fifth.
For their part, Leece/Fargher were the highest-placed Manx crew in the results, just in front of Nigel and Michaela Cannell whose Lancer EVO9 won the Group N ‘Production’ category on the event.
The other local finishers were:
8, Pete Johnston co-driver for John Indri; 12, Dave Corris/Carrie McEvoy; 13, Kex Walker/Danni Matthews; 15, Adrian Kermode/Maurice Beckett; 18, David Craine/Janet Craine; 19, Guy Simpkiss/Debbie Perry; 21, Stuart Bainborough/Chris Heyes; 24, Walter Bridson/Stephen Christian; 34, Terry Phillips/Ian Notman; 35, Martyn Jones/David Radcliffe; 38, Steven Quine/Richard Skinner; 39, Alison Lock/Ian Davison; 40, John Kirkpatrick/Martyn Quine; 41st, Tim Healy/Rob Jackson.
The Manx National ‘B’ Rally, which ran concurrently with the main event over the same route, was won by Peter Jackson/James Whittaker in a Ford Escort MkII, with the Subaru Impreza of Richard Clews/Terry Walkinshaw second.
There were no serious accidents but spare a thought for Graham Hollis/Alan Jones (Ford Escort MkII) and Adam Clews/Peter Williams (Ford Puma Super 1600) who retired on the very last stage of the event with gearbox and clutch failure respectively!
The best local finishers in the B Race were Wayne Quirk and Chris Killip in fifth.
Paul McEvoy and Michael McEvoy came home ninth with Carter and Mark Callister completing the top 10.