Irish drivers, Keith Cronin, Neil McCance and Daniel Barry took the top three places in the UK Mitsubishi Evolution Ralliart series on the RBS International Manx Rally that ended this afternoon.
It was particularly pleasing for Cronin, who made up for the disappointment of his retirement on the first stage in the last round. In addition, the West Cork driver (co-driven by Limerick’s, Greg Shinnors) was on his first ever competitive outing on the Island.
At the conclusion of the 14 stage event, Cronin, who was a magnificent fifth in overall terms, finished 47.3 seconds ahead of Ulsterman, Neil McCance.
Cronin lost time with a puncture on the final stage.
Daniel Barry, the pre-event championship leader, overcame differential woes to claim third placed points.
Ulsterman, Richard Cathcart looked on course to take top points until his Mitsubishi damaged a wheel two stages from the end - losing over a minute in the process.
Another Ulster driver, Jonny Greer (Mitsubishi) finished eleventh overall but Scotland’s, David Bogie crashed out earlier today.
In the main event, Welsh ace, Melvyn Evans, co-driven by Limerick’s, Sean Mullally, took a convincing victory – finishing some 50 seconds in front of the Subaru WRC of Roger Duckworth/Mark Broomfield.
Jon Ingram/Ian Allsop, also in a Subaru WRC were third – one minute 35.4 seconds further adrift in third.
Evans was being pressed hard by Banbridge driver, Kenny McKinstry through today’s stages.
While Evans had to revert to manual gear change when the paddle shift broke, McKinstry charged through the stages and moved to within eight seconds of rally leader, Evans.
However, his bid ended on Stage 10 when the engine of his Subaru WRC expired leaving Evans to maintain a steady pace to clinch victory.
Marcus Dodd (Hyundai) dropped to tenth after an off road excursion.
1. M. Evans/Sean Mullally (Subaru WRC) 1h. 41m. 40.0s.
2. R. Duckworth/M. Broomfield (Subaru WRC) 1h. 42m. 30.9s.
3. J. Ingram/I. Allsop (Subaru WRC) 1h. 44m 06.3s.
4. D. Kynaston/A. Russell (Audi A3) 1h. 44m. 12.9s.
5. K. Cronin/G. Shinnors (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1h. 45m. 11.6s.
6. N. McCance/G. Hopewell (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1h. 45m. 58.9s.
7. S. Moore/T. McHugh (Ford Focus WRC) 1h. 46m. 24.1s.
8. D. Barry/M. Bowens (Mitsubishi Lancer) 1h. 47m. 36.7s.
9. J. Price/C. Price (Metro 6R4) 1h. 47m. 39.3s.
10. M. Dodd/A. Bargery (Hyundai Accent WRC) 1h. 47m. 46.0s.