Another good day for Manx native, Mark Higgins and his Donegal co-driver, Rory Kennedy, in their Group N Subaru, who extended their lead in Rally Isle of Man, a counting round of both the Irish Tarmac and British Rally Championships.
Overnight, they lead Irish pair, Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru WRC) by over a minute, the Irish duo are concentrating their efforts on the Irish Tarmac Championship title.
For Higgins, it’s very much a family affair with his brother, David, co-driven by Ieuan Thomas slotting their Group N Subaru into third.
Elsewhere, Irish drivers, Darren Gass (Mitsubishi) and Brian O'Mahony (Renault Clio S1600) are sixth and seventh respectively and Jonny Greer (Mitsubishi) is ninth overnight.
Irish co-driver, David Moynihan, partnering Guy Wilks (Mitsubishi) occupy fourth.
Higgins, who moved into the lead on Thursday night’s final stage, dominated from this morning fifth and opening stage. Like most of the other drivers, tyre selection was the major issue. He had just one moment of anxiety, luckily, he was able to correct the situation.
One of his rivals, Wilks lost over three minutes when he damaged a wheel and suspension on Stage 8.
Meanwhile, David Higgins had to contend with a slow puncture for the final stages when he couldn’t change the wheel after the jack failed to work.
Ireland’s, Phillip Morrow crashed his works Mitsubishi on one of the closing stages, he may re-join the event tomorrow under Super Rally rules.
From an Irish perspective, Kevin Kelleher retired his Mitsubishi with clutch woes, his rival in the Tarmac series, John McGlaughlin lost over a minute on tonight’s final stage when the battery lead of his Mitsubishi came loose.
The rally finishes tomorrow with seven stages as Mark Higgins seeks his fourth win on his native land.
1. M. Higgins/R. Kennedy (Subaru) 1h. 43m. 19.4s.
2. E. Boland/D. Morrissey (Subaru WRC) 1h. 44m. 27.3s.
3. D. Higgins/I. Thomas (Subaru) 1h. 46m. 27.3s.
4. G. Wilks/D. Moynihan (Mitsubishi) 1h. 46m. 58.2s.
5. J. Wozencroft/C. Ridge (Subaru) 1h. 50m. 01.1s.
6. D. Gass/N. Shanks (Mitsubishi) 1h. 50m. 34.8s.
7. B. O'Mahony/J. Higgins (Renault Clio S1600) 1h. 52m. 01.2s.
8. G. Woodcock/J. Skinner (Escort Maxi) 1h. 52m.16.2s.
9. J. Greer/J. Hart (Mitsubishi) 1h. 52m. 56.4s.
10. A. Sjolander/H. Jacobsson (Ford Fiesta) 1h. 57m. 05.5s.