Citroen Racing Trophy / C2R2 Cup round four
International Rally Isle of Man 10/11 July 2009

Hat-trick for McCormack extends C2R2 Cup lead

Marty McCormack and Phil Clarke took sixth place overall on this weekendís International Rally Isle of Man, extending their lead of the MSA British Rally Championshipís C2R2 Cup with victory in the one-make series. [AUDIO]

The eventual fifty eight second winning margin over Championship rivals Jason Pritchard and Andrew Edwards could not have been predicted early in the 180 mile event though. After the first stage was stopped, eleven seconds separated the four CitroŽn Racing Trophy crews at the finish of SS2, Kella.

Mark Gamble and Steve Link took the early initiative, contesting their first event with the full C2R2 Max kit engine. Andrew Hockridge/Rich Mills were only 5.5 seconds down, but Pritchard and McCormack were by no means out of contention in third and fourth places respectively.

Despite having a soft brake pedal, Pritchard set a stunning stage three time and leap-frogged to the front, demoting Hockridge to fourth. The driver of the distinctive red and blue CitroŽn admitted he and Mills had run out of time during the recce though, only managing one pass over some stages.

With stage four also cancelled through earlier accidents, the battle was re-joined after service, where McCormack began a fight back for the lead. As stage times started to come in it was clear that the Irishman had managed to resolve an earlier front brake problem, closing in on Pritchardís lead to overtake on stage six.

It was a lead that he would not relinquish for the remainder of Friday, pulling a handful of seconds clear, despite Pritchardís final stage push which left them 21 seconds apart at the overnight halt.

Gamble and Hockridge had an eventful afternoon, the former entertaining the crowds in Castletown when he spectacularly hit a house on the quayside section. The car snapped sideways just after the bridge and he careered off backwards, smashing the rear of the car into a low window lintel. The time loss was inconsequential compared to his stage eight though, when he lost six minutes with alternator failure. Hockridgeís misfortune was still greater, the Welshman stopping in the same stage with gearbox trouble, unable to re-start that day.

He did, however, manage the re-start on Saturday, albeit carrying a hefty time penalty, but it did not help his eventual result as a misfire stopped the crew after the dayís first stage. The cause was eventually traced to a broken wire which had been trapped by the replacement gearbox, a cruel way to exit the event.

Gambleís exit was more spectacular but nonetheless final. He managed to complete just one more stage than Hockridge, before rattling the car between the infamous Manx banks, stopping on stage fifteen.

Any hope of a fight back from Pritchard ended when he lost third gear in his sequential gearbox on stage eighteen, forcing the Welsh youngster to cruise the final few stages for essential C2R2 Cup points and CitroŽn Racing Trophy prize money.

Realising his opponentís predicament, McCormack cruised home too, the maximum points haul moving him six points clear at the head of the C2R2 Cup. He took a substantial prize haul too, Ä2000 better off courtesy of his CitroŽn Racing Trophy win, CitroŽn UK doubling it to Ä4000 for being fastest two wheel drive car on the tough event.

Despite his hat-trick of victories, McCormackís Championship is by no means secure, as even an outright win on his home event, the Toddsleap.com Ulster International Rally, cannot seal the series. The August 21/22nd event is followed by Rallye le Touquet in Northern France, the final event in the 2009 season counting 1Ĺ points.

For more information on the C2R2 Cup / CitroŽn Racing Trophy visit www.c2r2.co.uk

The C2R2 Cup and CitroŽn Racing Trophy UK are supported by CitroŽn UK.

C2R2 Cup Rally Isle of Man final results
Pos
Driver
Co-driver
Time
Prize Ä

1
Martin McCormack
Phil Clarke
2:32:22.1
Ä4000

2
Jason Pritchard
Andrew Edwards
2:33:38.8
Ä2000

3
Mark Gamble
Steve Link
DNF

4
Andrew Hockridge
Rich Mills
DNF


C2R2 Cup (CitroŽn Racing Trophy)
provisional points
Pos
Driver
Nat
Total

1
Martin McCormack
GB
78

2
Jason Pritchard
GB
72

3
Mark Gamble
GB
50

4
Andrew Hockridge
GB
30

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