Jason Pritchard and co-driver Andrew Edwards survived a difficult Isle of Man International Rally to bring their FCS Laser Mail backed Citroen C2R2 Max home second in class and eighth overall.

The pair struggled with an ill handling C2 on the opening day, with Pritchard reporting that the car was all over the place on the narrow island roads. Excessive use of the brakes, to try and keep the little pocket rocket under control saw the 20-year-old struggle with brake fade on the longer stages. The handling problem was traced to a damaged suspension damper, which was replaced at the end of day service.

Pritchard, a member of the British Rally Elite, began day two in eleventh position overall and immediately set about making up time to the class leader. However, with the onset of rain on the second loop of stages the Competition Car Insurance supported C2R2 struggled for grip, before the gearbox began to fail towards the end of the day.

Pritchard had no option but to change his focus from challenging for class honours to nursing his North Road Garage backed Citroen to the finish.

"Well it has certainly been an eventful weekend," he said. "Once again we've proved that we have the pace but once the gearbox began playing up we had to back off and focus on championship points. Despite the rushed recce on Thursday I felt our notes were really good and so we head to Ulster hungry for a strong run."

The pair currently lie second in the C2R2cup, six points adrift of Irishman Martin McCormack with two rounds to go. The series heads across the Irish Sea next, to the Ulster Rally.

Before then, Pritchard has an extensive test planned as he seeks to unlock more pace from both himself and the car.

by Geoff Mayes

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