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brown-iom16aNissan Micra Kit Car ace Steve Brown recorded an overwhelming class N1 victory at last weekend’s Rally Isle of Man, leading the three day event from start to finish.

Overcoming several potentially rally-ending dramas, Brown and co-driver Paul Stringer dominated the event and crossed the TT Grandstand finish line with over three minutes in hand to their nearest rivals, finishing an impressive 59th overall from a start position of 116.

Brown headed to the island after mounting an assault on the Flanders International Rally Challenge in Belgium for much of 2016. Having recorded a class win back in 2015 on the Manx National event, Brown was looking to repeat last year’s glory on what is dubbed one of the toughest rallies on the European rallying calendar. Over 160 competitive miles lay ahead across closed public roads and the event would provide a challenge to even the most experienced driver.

Douglas Promenade hosted the opening spectator super special stage on Thursday night and Brown stamped his intentions on the leader board with fastest time in the N1 class. Two more stages under the cover of darkness offered more opportunities for Brown to extend his lead and he ended the day with a lead of over a minute on the second place challenger.

brown-iom16bDay two offered the bulk of the rally mileage and 11 stages during the day would certainly favour the brave. Brown continued his dominance throughout the daytime and headed into the loop of night stages, still confident of maintaining his sizeable class lead.

However the gap to second place would be considerably shortened when the Nissan snapped a driveshaft on the final stage of the day, losing Brown a chunk of time in the process. Nursing the car back to the overnight halt, the offending item was fixed in service and just five stages stood in the way of a victory.

An early start by the team on Saturday would prove to be a blessing in disguise as a gearbox problem was uncovered and a quick change of the transmission was duly implemented. Despite amassing a minute of penalties, Brown headed out with a significant advantage and completed the final loop of stages trouble free, recording a start to finish victory on the island.

“It’s certainly been one of the hardest rallies I’ve ever done and to overcome our issues on Friday night and  Saturday morning to win the class by three minutes is really rewarding” said Brown.  “I do have to keep reminding myself it’s only a 1300 and plenty of people think it has a bigger engine too. It really has been a fantastic weekend across some of the best roads there is. Huge thanks must go to the team for all their hard work, Paul for his faultless notes and to all our backers for allowing us to compete here. It’s been amazing”.

Brown is supported in 2016 by Fuchs Titan Race, Questmead Ltd, Mintex Racing, 710 OIL, PIAA and Pirelli

Images courtesy of Martyn’s Photos

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