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Mann fights back on debut

PUBLISHED: 15:26 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 07:16 01 August 2010

David Mann overcame an early set-back to finish seventh on the Tour of Epynt in Wales while making his debut in the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship on Sunday.

David Mann overcame an early set-back to finish seventh on the Tour of Epynt in Wales while making his debut in the MSA Asphalt Rally Championship on Sunday.

Flixton farmer Mann and Milton Keynes-based co-driver Alun Cook misjudged a chicane on the very first of the 10 stages, losing 40 seconds to the leaders, and were then playing catch-up.

The former National Rally Championship winners were forced to climb back up the leader-board from a lowly equal 26th position against a good quality field.

“Everyone else said we did very well on our debut but I am a little disappointed,” said Mann, who nevertheless takes his Nortech Motorsport-prepared Subaru Impreza into the second round of the all-tarmac rally series well placed, as only two of the cars ahead of him in Wales are registered to do the entire six-round series

“The stages are so fast nowadays that they tend to put a lot of artificial chicanes and junctions in to slow the cars down,” explained the Suffolk mushroom farmer when reflecting on their errant start to the 75-mile rally.

“I turned in too soon at one bail and when I tried to reverse out the engine cut out and we lost some time re-starting it. If we took the time we lost there off, then I think we might have finished fifth.”

Mann's words were reflected in the times, as their white Kumho-backed Subaru was back in the top 10 by stage three and second fastest of the entire field on stage five, less than two seconds adrift of overall rally winner, the Darrian T90 driven by John Dalton.

Mann praised the performance of both his car and Kumho tyres: “It rained heavily overnight and was still quite damp in the morning but we had no problems with traction - just familiarity.

“Stuart Hall (boss of Nortech) completely overhauled the car during the winter and it ran faultlessly.”

The MSA Asphalt Championship moves to the scene of one of Mann and Cook's finest hours - the Manx National Rally on the Isle of Man, where they triumphed en-route to the National title in 2003.

“I certainly know the Manx well enough!” mused Mann, who follows Paul Kynaston and multiple tarmac champion John Price in the series standings.

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