QUINE MOVES UP A GEAR
A move up to four wheel
drive machinery bought Steve Quine a hard fought victory on last
weekends opening round of the Eurocars Motorsport Manx Rally
Championship, the two-day Jaks Asphalt Rally.
Driving a Mitsubishi Evo 6 for the first time with Paul McCann, Quine took the advantage on the final loop on Friday night and maintained it through Saturday’s six tests to take victory by 12 seconds.
Brothers Lee and David Batty (Ford Escort MkII), the eventual runners-up , took the lead on the opening tests in the east of the island near Lonan, although they lost part of that advantage when SS1 was cancelled after Connor Corkill/Howard Allison rolled their Escort onto its side and into retirement.
Visitors Daniel Harper/Chris Campbell (BMW Mini) held second, with Quine and reigning Manx champion Mark Cubbon (Evo 7) tied for third.
Cubbon retired at the end of SS4 (Ballacoar) with a blown motor, but at the head of the field Quine was really getting to grips with the new car. Despite struggling with a ‘long’ brake pedal he closed to within a second of the lead after SS6, and then moved ahead as Batty struggled for grip over the last three stages of the night as a result of mud pulled out by the previous passages.
Harper held third overnight, with Andrew Leece/Graham Fargher (Subaru) just a second behind, showing real pace on their first run in a newly-acquired Subaru. Nigel Cannell/Kris Killip (Vauxhall Corsa kit car) were fifth ahead of pre-event favourites John Cope/Rob Fagg (Subaru WRC), who lost time with an overshoot and stall.
Despite thick mist on the opening Saturday morning tests over Round Table in the west of the island, the bulk of the top 10 beat the bogey on both. After a big push, Batty was particularly disappointed to see the time he thought he’d regained on Quine nullified.
On the second run however Quine proved a point, increasing the advantage to 10 seconds, and despite opting to play it safe and stay on wet tyres despite a drying surface as the event moved north to Druidale and Sartfield, extended the winning margin further over the final two stages.
The third run of the stage was scrapped by organisers to avoid running out of road closure time, the rally having been delayed for more than an hour earlier in the day when Lee Freestone crashed at the flying finish on SS11 at the Garey, sustaining a broken wrist. The Escort he was driving belonged to the events’ Clerk of the Course, Mark Ellison!
Harper dropped time in the mist on SS13, allowing Cannell to claim a third place highlighted by a stage win on Druidale. Cope upped his pace on the second day to finish fifth after Leece struggled to the finish with a broken front suspension unit.
Noel and Carol Kelly had a trouble-free run to seventh in their Evo 6, while work colleagues Graham Collister and Kex Walker had a rally-long scrap, with Graham taking eighth but a single second on his first ever four wheel drive run in son George’s Evo 3.
Visitors John Cressey and Stan Quirk (BMW Mini) rounded out the top ten as a surprisingly high rate of 46 crews reached the finish out of 57.
Leading them back to the TT Grandstand, Quine took a first victory on a Manx Championship closed-roads event in his stride (he has of course won the Trophy section of the International in t he past). ‘It was really all about getting used to the car this weekend, getting the win is a bonus really’.