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isleofman15 (59)After many years of doing the Manx National we finally got round to the big brother, Rally Isle of Man, and it proved to be a worthy epic. The overall top 3 took their positions after stage 7 and did not change thereafter, but by no means was this a boring rally as there was plenty going on and battles throughout. The opening two tests saw the German crew of Ron Schumann & Stefan Weigel (Evo VII) break the previous all-time stage records to lie an impressive 1st overall but it all came to nothing on the tricky Rhenab stage when the crew left the stage and retired from the event. Steve & Andrew Colley (Evo IX) took over the lead with a total of 11 fastest stage times on their way to victory by a minute and three quarters.

Nigel & Jade Cannell (Evo VII) had a challenging first night as a stall on stage 1 and a few niggles saw them in only 5th overall. With the car sorted they stormed up to 2nd overall Friday morning and a total of three fastest stage times during the rest of the event. Completing the podium and first Historic crew home were Rob Smith & Alun Cook (Escort MkII), who set two fastest stage times in the process and also won the FIA Historic class.

All the drama was behind them as Ryan Barrett & Paul McCann (Escort MkII) came back strong through Friday and Saturday to finish 4th overall, 2nd Historic and first category 3 crew, following gearbox issues throughout the opening night of the rally had dropped them to outside of the top ten. Guy Woodcock & Graham Dance (Escort MkII) looked all set for 3rd Historic home, following the retirement at service of Meirion & Steffan Evans (Escort MkII), but the diff fell off in the Baldwins section of the final stage.

So it was Will Onions & Dave Williams (Escort MkII) who completed the Historic podium in 5th overall, running over the diff on their way through the final stage. Sixth overall were Jason Pritchard & Phil Clarke (Escort MkII) and they almost caught Onions on the final stage, finishing less than a second behind, but they had done enough to win the championship and be crowned 2015 British Historic Rally Champions.

Elsewhere Stu Bainborough & Charlotte Shimmin (Evo III) completed the modern podium in 7th overall with Michael Dunlop & Rob Fagg (Escort MkII) the first 2WD crew home in the modern event, just over 3 minutes further behind in 8th overall. John Perrott & Keaton Williams (Escort MkI) were the first category 2 team home in 13th overall with Andrew & Jamie-Lee Fox (BMW E30) taking category 4 honours with 26th overall. The last category winners were Dessie Nutt & Geraldine McBride (Porsche 911) who were 37th overall and the two minutes ahead of their nearest rivals.

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