David Wright leads the Manx National Rally after a blistering opening four stages, with the Lancaster driver taking a 13.6 second advantage into this afternoon’s rest halt – before the event resumes with Leg 2 this evening.
Co-driven by Paula Swinscoe, Wright revelled in the hot, dry and sunny conditions to top the leaderboard mid-way through Round 2 of the 2023 Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship in his Michelin-shod Ford Fiesta R5.
Callum Black led after the opening stage, despite only driving his Pallas Connections-backed Ford Fiesta Rally2 on asphalt for the first time on the shakedown stage. He and co-driver Jack Morton are second, just 0.2 seconds in front of Kevin Davies/Owain Davies in their Melvyn Evans Motorsport-prepared Cobra Hydraulics-backed Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.
Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg are fourth in their RSH Tarmac Ford Fiesta Rally2, closely followed by another Manx rally winning crew Neil Roskell/Andrew Roughead in their ND Civils/Burdens/Witham Motorsport Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Defending champion Steve Wood (co-driven by Kenny Hull) is the sixth best Protyre Asphalt driver (seventh overall) in his Trailhead Get Jerky-backed Ford Fiesta WRC, just ahead of John Stone. The Legend Fires Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 driver is going well, especially as co-driver Laura Connell has lost her voice having felt unwell since arriving on the island.
The event didn’t start well for Anthony Eaton/Ian Jackson, who hit a rock and broke the suspension on their bright yellow Autotest Ford Fiesta R5 on SS2 – while Stephen Simpson/Patrick Walsh didn’t come out of SS4 in their Tudor Glass Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Darren Atkinson/Mark Twiname arrived on the Isle of Man with a smart new livery and a new sponsor in the form of Haldane Fisher, but crashed their Ford Escort Mk2 on SS3.
Brad Cole/Neil Colman are currently the top two-wheel drive Protyre Asphalt crew in their Trick Motorsport-prepared Hydroline Solutions 2.5-litre Escort Mk2.
Please note that all times and positions are provisional at the time of writing.
The Manx National resumes at 18:31 with a further five stages totalling 32.24 miles this evening, with full Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship points awarded at the end of Leg 2.
Don’t miss the fantastic live coverage on the Special Stage TV Facebook page, with three more stages coming up tonight: SS5 – 18:44 (stage end driver interviews), SS6/7 – 19:12 (action/all cars/two passes) and SS9 – 20:37 (action/all cars).
Manx National Rally – top 5 at the end of Leg 1 (after SS4)
1. David Wright/Paula Swinscoe (Ford Fiesta R5)….19mins 04.5secs
2. Callum Black/Jack Morton (Ford Fiesta Rally2)….19mins 18.1secs
3. Kevin Davies/Owain Davies (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5)….19mins 18.3secs
4. Hugh Hunter/Rob Fagg (Ford Fiesta Rally2)….19mins 26.5secs
5. Neil Roskell/Andrew Roughead (Ford Fiesta Rally2)….19mins 33.1secs