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Mann heading back to Ireland

PUBLISHED: 11:33 11 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:30 01 August 2010

Flixton mushroom farmer David Mann makes his first visit to the west of Ireland for over 20 years in search of points to help close the gap to leader David Kynaston in the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Championship.

Flixton mushroom farmer David Mann makes his first visit to the west of Ireland for over 20 years in search of points to help close the gap to leader David Kynaston in the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Championship.

Mann and Milton-Keynes based co-driver Alun Cook contest the 26th Sligo Stages Rally on Sunday over a 160km route on closed public roads. And the East Anglian admits that somehow they have to try and reel in Kynaston to maintain their hopes of taking the title at the end of the six-round series.

Mann, driving a Kumho Tyres Subaru Impreza, lies seventh in the standings at the halfway point, but a mere four points separate fourth to seventh places and an under-bonnet fire in round two has left a slightly misleading look to the championship table, as each driver is able to ignore his worst score at the end of the season.

Nevertheless Kynaston, in his powerful Audi A3 Quattro, has set a high standard with two victories to date and Mann admits: “We need to beat David (Kynaston) and might have to rely on there being a lot of bends in the rally to slow him down!

“I've never done the Sligo Stages before and haven't been to that part of Ireland since 1986, when I did the Circuit of Ireland which might have used some of the same stages.

“I did the 'Circuit' three years running when it used to last for five days and the first time, in 1984. It was a real adventure and I finished seventh overall in a 1600cc Toyota Corolla.

“We are really looking forward to the trip, although for Nortech Motorsport, who prepare the car and will transport it to the rally, have a massive journey from where they are situated in almost the furthest point east in England, to Sligo, which is about as far west as you can go in Ireland - we never had to travel so far last year when we did the Dutch Championship!”

The route incorporates nine stages (three different tests each used three times) which should allow those less familiar (such as Mann) a chance to become increasingly familiar with them as the day progresses.

Each individual stage is in excess of 16km and Mann adds: “That's good because I like longer stages - they give you more time to get into a rhythm.

“The car has had an overhaul since the last event (the Scottish borders-based Jim Clark Rally) and, in addition to a new clutch, we will be using an engine loaned to us by GT Motorsport (Hinkley) who are still working on ours.”

Mann starts at No 4 among the 132-car capacity entry, with Kynaston six cars further back and so able to keep a watch on his rivals progress.

Mann and Alun Cook thank Kumho Tyres, Nortech Motorsport, Mintex and Flixton Mushrooms for their support in 2008.

Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Rally Championship Championship positions after three rounds - 1 David Kynaston (Audi A3 Quattro) 72; 2 Simon Mauger (Ford Escort MkII) 54; 3 Steve Simpson (Hyundai Accent WRC) 54; 4 Graham Hollis (Ford Escort MkII) 44; 5 John Price (MG Metro 6R4) 42; 7 David Mann/Alun Cook (Kumho Subaru Impreza) 40.

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