Date: 14 May 2007
Manx podium pleases Marcus!Multiple British National Rally Champion Marcus Dodd produced a sparkling performance to take 3rd overall on this weekend’s RBS International Manx Rally. Overall winner of the event Kenny McKinstry was not registered for MSA National Gravel Rally Championship points, so Dodd took 2nd place points behind Roger Duckworth after a sterling comeback drive.
Marcus was piloting his familiar Flitewise.com, Sunseeker Powerboats, Pirelli Tyres and Sunoco Fuels backed Hyundai Accent WRC4. The HPM Motorsport run machine would have the tough task of facing 15 fast, bumpy and challenging special stages on the closed public roads of the Isle of Man.
Secret weapon for the weekend was Manx born co-driver Andrew Bargery. With an intimate knowledge of the island roads, Marcus was keen to make the most of Andrew’s ‘home’ event and the pair were desperately keen to make up for a disappointing end to the recent Border Counties Rally which saw them retire whilst leading.
Wet and foggy conditions would be the order of the day for the Friday evening loop of stages. Marcus started well as he threaded the Hyundai World Rally Car through the narrow lanes near to Port Erin and Ballabeg. Marcus would find himself 6th overall after the first leg, just 35 seconds down from the leader. With 10 special stages in wait on the Saturday, the team were well placed to push forwards and mount a serious challenge.
Dry and bright conditions greeted the crews at the restart. Marcus was looking forward to getting started but on the very first stage of the day the Hyundai suffered a turbo problem. Marcus would drop outside of the Top 10, losing more than a minute in the process. The HPM team acted quickly and the problem was soon rectified. Marcus attacked as he set a string of impressive stage times on his least favoured surface to begin climbing up the leaderboard.
Dodd’s assault on the Top 10 was impressive. Stage by stage, he moved up the order until a podium finish looked a real possibility. Dodd and Bargery maintained the pressure right until the end setting first and second fastest times along the way. Their reward was a terrific 3rd overall and 2nd in points for the championship. Marcus was delighted with the result after a very tough weekend’s rallying:
It really was a battle of attrition out there said Marcus. Friday were some of the worst Manx conditions I have seen over the years. The rain and fog was a real tester and it was a battle just to get through the night without any dramas. Having the turbo problem early on Saturday was a great way to get motivated for a fight back up the leaderboard. We pushed hard for the remainder of the day and to get 2nd in the points was a real bonus for us on what I regard as our weakest event in the series. The Pirelli tyres worked brilliantly in the very difficult conditions and our testing at the recent Welsh Rally on Epynt was very worthwhile indeed. Next up is the Severn Valley Rally which is one of my absolute favourites. I love the stages in Mid Wales and we will really be able to get into our stride there. The battle for the championship is well and truly on now so we’ll be pushing very hard for the win on the 2nd of June!.