Mann's rally good day

A Saturday surge saw former winners David Mann and Alun Cook climb from 18th to finish seventh overall on the all-tarmac Manx Telecom Rally on May 8/9.

A Saturday surge saw former winners David Mann and Alun Cook climb from 18th to finish seventh overall on the all-tarmac Manx Telecom Rally on May 8/9.

The impressive performance, following a troubled Friday night, was enough to claim second placed points and strengthen their challenge for honours in the Richard Egger Insurance MSA Asphalt Championship - the third round of which shared top billing with the ANCRO MSA Gravel Rally Championship.

Flixton driver Mann - the 2003 Manx Rally and ANCRO National Champion - now moves up to second place in the asphalt series, while co-driver Cook actually takes over the lead in the co-drivers' title race.

But, despite a much chronicled 'handicap' of competing against much newer and technologically more advanced cars, their trusty 10-year old Kumho Tyres Subaru Impreza might have finished even higher up the leaderboard had it not been for the unpredictable Isle of Man weather and a couple of misfortunes during Friday evening's opening leg of six stages.

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“We lost quite a lot of time on stage two,” recalled Mann. “We lined up expecting it to be dry, then there was torrential rain at the start.

“We still seem to be struggling to get grip in the wet - when we were on the right compound and cut the Kumho tyres worked really well, but I think we have some work to do on the suspension in the wet - I feel that's where the problem is.

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“We also had a drive shaft joint breaking up and that affected the transmission, so we finished down in 18th place.

“Every time we do this rally we seem to have trouble on the Friday and we were again playing catch-up from then on.”

Championship rivals Melvyn Evans and David Kynaston went to bed with healthy advantages over Mann as a consequence, but Saturday dawned drier and went on to prove more fortuitous:

“On Saturday morning we got up from 18th to ninth over the first four stages, which we were pretty chuffed about.

“It got better as the rally went on but the problem was that we were 10 or more cars behind the ones we were competing with (having begun eighth on the road but been re-seeded overnight down to 18th).

“One stage (Marine Drive) everyone lined up on slicks and, while we were waiting for our turn, the heavens opened and it poured down with rain so we found ourselves aqua-planing everywhere.

“The stage went along the cliff top above Douglas which was a bit hairy because if you went off you went into the sea!”

Kynaston's luck was not to hold, however, and his Audi A3 Quattro spluttered out of contention through an electrical failure three stages from the end of the scheduled 16.

Mann did overhaul the Mitsubishi Lancer E9 of current ANCRO Championship leader Daniel Barry on the closing stages to move into seventh spot in the rally.

But he just failed to catch local star George Collister, driving another Mitsubishi.

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