FRESH from their excellent win on the RDP Welsh Rally, Damian Cole and co-driver, Craig Drew, headed for the Isle of Man for the Manx Telecom Rally in search of MSA National Ashphalt points.
The event started on Friday night with a loop of five special stages with a further 10 on Saturday.
Last year's victor, Paul Bird, had returned to the daunting Manx lanes as well has BRC stars Keith Cronin, Jonny Greer and Euan Thorburn, all making up a quality entry. Cole got off to the worse possible start with the clutch slipping, off the start line of the opening test, they had to endure this for the whole of Fridays loop, plus they had no anti-lag and arrived back in Douglas 41st overall.
With the clutch changed overnight they were hoping to attack from the word go on Saturday morning. But straight from the off, the clutch went again on the Get-connected.com backed 05 Focus WRC, with the car barely driveable, over a minute was lost. Having spoken to the team via the phone, the clutch had to be bled after every stage.
But the Hereford driver set a string of top three times and rapidly climbed the leaderboard,with a stunning drive, they started the last loop of 3 tests in 5th place. A big push saw the duo arrive back at the TT Grandstand in Douglas 3rd overall and maximum Tarmac points just 40 seconds behind local boy Steven Quine's Lancer.
To get on the podium is credit to Damian but Paul Bird and Kirsty Riddick in the 08 Focus WRC took victory for the second year running.