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WWRS CrookNearly 20 years after he rallied an Opel Manta, Simon Crook will return to a Manta to contest the open category of the West Wales Rally Spares R.A.C. Rally Championship.

Crook, who ran his Manta in mid-90s BTRDA events with backing from Blakemans Sausages, has recently sold his historic specification Ford Escort Mk2 and is going back to his roots with a Manta 400 running with a Vauxhall 16-valve engine and Ford gearbox and axle.

“I’m planning to join the R.A.C. Championship in June at the DMack Carlisle Stages and then do all the subsequent events,” said Staffordshire-based Crook.

“In 1993 we upgraded from a Pinto-powered Escort to get 16-valve power. Our first event was the Wyedean and we finished seventh overall,” said Crook. “But we did find that the Manta is a lot longer than an Escort and we remodelled the back end through a gate! I’ve got a lot of fond memories of the Manta. In 1994 there was a very fierce battle in the 2-litre class and a puncture on the last stage of the last event, the Crystal Stages in Yorkshire, dropped us to third in the class.”

The latest Manta has most recently been used by Alistair Cunningham from Scotland and Crook is now looking for a co-driver as his brother Alister has committed to sit alongside Aziz Tejpar in a Group 4 Escort Mk2 in the championship this season.

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