Luke Pinder and co-driver Peter Scott dominated the Swift Sport Cup on the Rally Isle of Man last weekend, the fourth round of the MSA British Rally Championship's 1600cc one-make series.
The winning margin over nearest rival, local driver David Harrison, was 1 minute 18 seconds, but by the final pair of stages Pinder had eased off considerably, having built a buffer of over two minutes.
Pinder and Scott stamped their authority on the event from the second stage, the first having been stopped by an accident further up the field, over thirty seconds clear of youngster Harrison and co-driver Glyn Thomas after the 11.21 mile Kella stage.
By the close of the first day Pinder had almost achieved his two minute buffer and even the inevitable rain on Saturday couldn't stop fastest stage after fastest stage.
True, Harrison and new Championship leaders Gordon Nichol & Emma Morrison both had their chance at the top of the time sheets on the final pair of stages, but at the TT grandstand it was Pinder who took maximum points to close the gap to Nichol.
Harrison's event was interspersed with niggling problems, his front brake pads breaking up and replacement ones fading. He and Thomas also had a couple of overshoots while pushing hard, but their worst incident came just before the finish ramp. Unsighted in the service area, they collided with the side of Nick Everard's Swift, damaging the front of their previously unmarked car.
Scot Nichol ran consistently third for the two days of this mammoth event, on such a tight budget that the whole team camped and took the overnight ferry to arrive early on Thursday morning. The consequent lack of sleep meant that they elected to use organisers' pace-notes, struggling to adapt back after perfecting their own system during the early part of the 2009 season.
However, they now lead both drivers' and co-drivers' Championships, overtaking Molly Taylor and Jemma Bellingham who had a difficult first Rally Isle of Man. Initially fifth early on in the event, the Australian driver continued on her immensely steep learning curve, overtaking Nick Everard on stage seven despite an earlier overshoot and spin.
Unfortunately the only all-female British Rally Championship crew was caught out on Saturday's first stage, careering over a bank on a tricky downhill junction. The car launched into the air and landed heavily on its roof, thankfully both crew only shaken by the crash.