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'Big Mac' takes rally opener

By Rory Daley
Observer writer

Friday, August 04, 2017

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IT was a small outing as only four teams made the trek to Lydford in St Ann for the Rally of the Kings last Sunday. However, the event was not short of drama as Fraser McConnell claimed his first overall rally victory by the narrowest of margins.

“I didn't know if I could celebrate when we pulled in after the last stage. I waited until all the co-drivers did up their times and I got word from the officials. The car ran perfectly thanks to KIG and NG Racing,” McConnell told Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

McConnell said he found his first-time run on the Lydford course a challenge.

“They were flat out and required a lot more commitment, which I'm not used to as the stages in Bog Walk tend to be slower more technical,” he said.

Leading the rally up until stage four was Joel Jackson. He ended that stage with a delaminated tyre that took out his Subaru Impreza STI's wire loom.

“The car shut down,” said Jackson.

Jackson and co-driver Dmitri Dawkins had called it quits, only to have his team of mechanics revive the car.

“They rewired the car in the space of an hour, all credit to them,” he explained.

Lady luck then swung back Jackson's way. Having to miss stage five would have put them out completely, but a timing error on that stage caused it to be cancelled, allowing him to restart stage six after the break, albeit with a time penalty.

During his short absence, the fight between Timothy Stewart and McConnell hit fever-pitch.

“The stages were a bit loose in places and we started having some technical issues,” said Stewart.

His Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX began to suffer fuel problems, causing it to bog down during hard cornering. This allowed McConnell to force the issue for the lead and his eventual win by 0.467 of a second.

There wasn't enough stage miles for Jackson to recover, but he still managed a third place. Thomas Hall finished in fourth.

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