Manxman Richard Kneen impressed on his international rallying debut when the site engineer brought his C.B. Horne and Ballaneven Compost supported MG ZR home 24th overall after 180 miles of high speed rallying on last weekends International Rally Isle of Man.

Kneen, co-driven by Eric Pritchard in his little 1400cc MG ZR, struggled with a front shock absorber problem on Friday but once the offending item was replaced at service the young rally driver upped his pace considerably.

This was the first time that Kneen had driven the car on tarmac but apart from one spin he did not put a foot wrong throughout the two day event, even displaying mechanical sympathy after breaking a driveshaft on Saturday morning and having to adapt his driving style to nurse the car to the next service.

This performance was enough to impress the judges who awarded young Kneen with the IRDC (International Rally Drivers Club) Best Newcomer Award at the official prize giving on Saturday night.

"This was by far the hardest rally I have ever tackled, especially when the rain came down on Saturday," he said. "To finish my home event was fantastic but to be awarded the IRDC Best Newcomer award is something very special.

"Our aim for the rest of the year is to try and raise the budget to contest the Cambrian Rally in October."

by Geoff Mayes

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