14 MAY 2018 15:35
Spencer Sport enjoyed a good Manx National Rally, with its trio of Mitsubishi Mirage R5 cars recording a total of 26 top 10 stage times.
The event proved to be two very different rallies in one, with day one run in torrential rain and in the darkness on the Friday night and day two run in bright sunshine and on dry roads on the Saturday. In both conditions, the Mirage R5 performed exceptionally well and outclassed many of the more powerful World Rally Cars.
After a clean run, John Indri was the top placed Spencer Sport driver, coming home in 7th position – beating his previous career-best Manx National result of 8th in 2013. Co-driven by Mathew Smalley, the Colchester driver was 20th overall and 8th in class after SS4, as his very first competitive stages in the Mirage R5 took place in the very worst of the conditions, with rivers of water running down the roads and deep standing water in unsuspecting places. He quickly got used to the car and set seven top 10 stage times, while a big push towards the end saw him set the sixth and seventh fastest time on the final two stages to finish 7th overall and 4th in class.
Philip Hopkins had a great run in his Mirage R5 on what was his fourth appearance on the Isle of Man. A spin up a bank on SS4 caused a puncture, which he stopped to change – although in the heavy rain and with mud covering the wheel nuts, his first ever mid-stage wheel change was a tricky and time consuming one. The four minutes lost dropped the Bristol driver down to 53rd overall and 12th in class – but he and co-driver Aled Edwards immediately launched a magnificent fight back, setting fifth fastest time on the very next stage. In fact, Hopkins drove brilliantly from then on in, setting 10 top 10 stage times on the last 12 stages, including a pair of sixth fastest (SS10/13) and seventh fastest (SS14/15) times to finish 11th overall and 6th in class.
Jamie Jukes set a magnificent second fastest time on SS1, but hit a chicane on the next stage. It was a long wait before the team could recover the car and the Spencer Sport mechanics worked all through the night to repair it, enabling the Llandysul driver to return for day two under Rally2 regulations – albeit in last place and with over three hours of time penalties. The dry roads were a great opportunity to test the new Mirage R5 and for Jukes and co-driver James Morgan to have a bit of fun – and they set top times on all of Saturday’s fast and bumpy eight stages, including three third fastest times (SS11/12/16) and two fourth fastest times (SS13/15). The huge amount of road penalties meant they finished last, but they showed that the Spencer Sport Mitsubishi Mirage R5 is a car capable of winning events like the Manx National.
Spencer Sport would to thank its partners for their support: Spencer ECA, Oil 4 Wales, Nicky Grist Motorsports, PIAA UK, Speedline Corse UK, Atech Racing, Motul, Hopkins Specialist Race Trailers, Sea & Slate Holiday Cottages and Ryley Wealth Management.