Following on from a superb fifth place overall last year, Carnforth rally driver Arron Newby defied the weather and a class field to claim a superb podium on this weekend’s IMGold Manx National Rally.
Having not rallied on the Isle of Man since last September and once again co-driven by local Kirk Michael navigator Rob Fagg, the reigning Manx Rally champions were hoping to show some good pace against the National MSA Asphalt Championship regulars in their VP Fuels and Pirelli-backed TEG Sport Subaru Impreza.
Friday evening saw them get off to a great start on the opening 2.8-mile Keristal stage where they were second only to the Ford Focus WRC of Paul Bird but for the remainder of the night, it proved challenging due to the deteriorating weather conditions.
Seventh quickest on the tricky Marine Drive stage before two sensible runs around the streets of Port Erin saw Newby arrive at the 16-mile St Marks test in sixth overall but any hopes of improving were dashed as a brake problem mid-stage hampered their progress.
Despite the lack of brakes, they did battle through to ninth fastest time but worse was to come on the final 16-mile Cringle stage later on. At close on 100mph late on in the stage, Newby hit standing water and mud which sent the car out of control and after bouncing off banks on both sides of the road, it came to rest nose down in a ditch where most of the Impreza’s lights were left.
Arron managed to extract the car and limp out of the stage, amazingly setting eighth fastest time to hold fifth heading back to the Douglas service area.
The TEG Sport team set about repairing the car and worked relentlessly through the night to ensure Newby could restart on Saturday morning, which he did.
From there, and with slightly better weather conditions, the 20-year-old set about climbing the leaderboard and after the day’s opening two stages, he was up to sixth overall.
After the middle loop of stages, courtesy of some top three stage times, Arron was up to fourth and the icing on the cake was his fastest time down the tricky 14-mile Baldwins stage which netted him and Fagg third place overall, taking the B13 class win for good measure.
Newby said: “I am absolutely over the moon to have finished third overall, first in class B13 and fastest on the last stage.
“It took a bit of time on Saturday morning getting my confidence back after Friday night’s bump, but as soon as we found the pace, our times just got better and better.
“Big thanks to TEG Sport; it shows all the hard work the boys put in pays off.
“A big thanks to Rob for his faultless note reading once again and another good result for us both.”