Isle of Man: Citroen Trophy preview
Changeable forecast for Citroens on Isle of Man Robert Barrable and Damien Connolly head to Rally Isle of Man this weekend, having extended their lead in the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship's Citroen Racing Trophy on the first of three ...
Changeable forecast for Citroens on Isle of Man
Robert Barrable and Damien Connolly head to Rally Isle of Man this weekend, having extended their lead in the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship's Citroen Racing Trophy on the first of three asphalt events last month.
But despite the Irish duo having taken maximum points on the last two events, the outcome of the event is likely to be as unpredictable as the Island's weather.
The high powered 1600cc front wheel drive cars are more than capable of mixing it with the top ten for overall position, ably proven by both Barrable and his nearest rival Mark Donnelly and co-driver Paddy Robinson. But the forecast for the weekend is for rain and it will be brave crews who push to the max on slippery asphalt.
Donnelly's win on the opening round must seem a distant memory now, possibly spurring the young Northern Irishman to push harder on the notoriously fast and bumpy Manx stages.
He and Barrable will have to watch their mirrors though, as Richard Sykes and Simon Taylor, who have been quick on every event, try to not only get to the finish, but prove their point that they can beat the Irish boys. They will have to treat this event as their first though, having retired twice with technical problems and once with an uncharacteristic roll.
Joe McGonigle and Niall Burns are the third of the Irish crews and they have a point to prove too, niggling problems have plagued the pair this season. But they are still close enough to the top of the table to take the title with a bit of home spun luck.
Making their task more difficult will be Mark Gamble and Paula Swinscoe. A Midlander like Sykes, Gamble contested the series in 2009 but never felt he got to grips with the car. Perhaps a new co-driver and time looking after other drivers' cars will be just the ticket, but they could be instrumental in the outcome of the Citroen Racing Trophy, capable of taking points and prize money like the rest.
Australian Molly Taylor makes it a family affair on the Isle of Man, her mother Coral taking the co-driver's seat for the first time in the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship. No doubt Molly will look towards the multiple Australian champion to help guide her to at least another podium, keen to forget her inversion on last year's Rally Isle of Man and improve on her third place in Wales back in March.
So yet another tricky event looms for the six Citroen protagonists and since any one of the crews could still mathematically take the crown, there will be crossed fingers and skywards glances in all camps as the fourth round of the Citroen Racing Trophy UK gets underway.
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