The Rallee Classicagh section of this weekends Rally Isle of Man, powered by Microgaming, is set to be an intriguing battle with all of last years main contenders returning amongst a high quality and varied entry list.
It should all but guarantee the spectacular rear-wheel drive action that has made the historic cars the crowd favourites in recent years.
Rallee Classicagh, a round of the Irish Historic Tarmac Rally Championship. will run first on the road, so 2012 victor Darren Moon, will lead the entire event into action and carry the number 1 on the doors for this special anniversary edition.
The Leeds driver was headed in the early stages by former winner David Stokes last year, but showed stunning speed on the second morning in particular to set up his victory in his MkII Ford Escort. The car has undergone an extensive overhaul in readiness to return and bid to keep the Moon shining! Market Rasen co-driver Graham Wild resumes his regular seat after Dale Furniss stood in at the last minute twelve months ago.
Omagh’s Ryan Barrett, the 2010 Manx Historic winner, is however the man on form, scorching to a dominant Ulster Historic Rally last month. He will start as favourite in another Escort with local Paul McCann on the notes.
Stokes and Guy Weaver finished third last year behind Barrett, and have their usual MkI RS1600 version. David, from Dursley, first competed here in the 1960’s, and would maybe welcome some mixed weather to take away the power advantage of the later edition cars, that include last years fourth placed driver Will Onions (Shrewsbury) as well as Rob Smith (Towcester) and Guy Woodcock (Llanferres).
Both Smith and Woodcock featured high on the leaderboard last year before retiring with mechanical woes.
It’s not just about Ford’s iconic Escort however, there’s plenty of variety as befitting of the anniversary edition, with the Porsche 911 and Mini Cooper S, each celebrating their own anniversaries, represented aplenty alongside Triumph TR7, Sunbeam Lotus, MGB, Volvo Amazon, Hillman Avenger and Opel Ascona examples.
The Porsche battle includes London-based John Spiers, Rikki Proffitt and Douglas-based Ulsterman Derek Boyd, whilst the Mini’s includes former event winners Adrian Kermode and Mervyn Johnston as well as a very welcome return to Shinobu Kitani and Yoshinao Tsuchiya.
Rallee Classicagh tackles the entire route of the event, covering 462 miles of which 196 are on closed road special stages.
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