The Dmack team of Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry rounded off a championship winning season on Rally Isle of Man
Dmack’s dominant one-two victory on Rally Isle of Man, the final round of the MSA British Rally Championship, gave the team a victory lap, having clinched the championship title on the previous event. Elfyn Evans and Craig Parry rounded off their season with their fifth victory from seven rallies, finishing only 5.9 seconds ahead of team-mates Mark Higgins and Darren Garrod. Both crews took wins on 16 of the event’s 20 special stages. The double podium ensured the BRC Teams’ Championship trophy for the Dmack team, while Dmack runners also won the overall, BRC1, BRC2 and Junior BRC classes. The Michelin shod team of Tom Cave and James Morgan, and Pirelli runners Jonathan Greer and Kirsty Riddick finished on the championship’s second and third podium steps respectively.
Matt Edwards’ fifth place overall helped ensure five Dmack-equipped drivers finished in the top-10, while Donnie MacDonald was overall winner of the Rally Isle of Man National Rally.
Rally Isle of Man is one of the toughest tarmac challenges in the series and runs on the flat-out Manx roads and lanes across the Island. Competitors used Dmack’s range of DMT-RC2 asphalt tyres in medium M5 and hard H5 compounds in the dry conditions to deliver rally-winning performance.
In their Autotek-prepared Ford Fiesta R5, Evans and Parry were early leaders after winning two stages when the event kicked off from Douglas on Thursday evening. Going fastest on four more stages and building up a 38 second advantage, they hit trouble on Friday evening when a broken front driveshaft saw the pair limp through the final two tests of the day, dropping 55 seconds and falling back to second place.
Competing on his home rally, and with unrivalled experience of the stages, five-time rally winner and triple BRC champion Higgins was also on a mission. Despite it being his Tarmac debut in the Fiesta, he and Garrod went on a charge and snapped up the lead after Evans’ problems.
The Dmack crews set up a nail-biting climax with just 0.1 seconds separating the pair going into the final loop of two stages. Evans edged ahead by 8.4 seconds with a stunning time on the penultimate test and, despite a last-stage push from Higgins, he cruised through to the top step of the podium.
Matt Edwards and Will Rogers put in their most impressive asphalt drive of the season to finish fifth with Rob Duggan and Ger Conway taking the Junior BRC win and ninth overall.
Elfyn Evans said: “Taking victory is the icing on the cake, not only for me but the whole Dmack team. The reason for coming here was to seal the teams’ championship but I wanted to take the fight to Mark and win the event. It tops off a great year in the BRC and a fine reward to Dmack and the whole team for their hard work in 2016. To win on stages where Mark has so much local knowledge was hard but it was a very enjoyable battle.”
Mark Higgins said: “It was a great event and I was really pleased to see that I could be back on a rally-winning pace after such a long lay-off and on my first time with the Fiesta R5 on Tarmac. It was a fantastic result for Dmack and the Autotek team and I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity. Racing in dry conditions for three days here is a real pleasure and it was great that we could be part of the battle for the win.”
Glenn Patterson, Dmack British Rally Team manager, said: “We’ve had the perfect end to an extremely successful season. Winning on both gravel and asphalt, and across the full range of classes, shows we have the most competitive products for all competitors in the UK. The fight for the win was intense and both drivers worked extremely hard all weekend to secure a dream result for Dmack.”