Matt Edwards and co-driver Rob Fagg enjoyed success on the Rally Isle of Man last weekend as they scored maximum points on both days of the Isle of Man Challenge Rally and took a podium place in the latest round of the Kick Energy Fiesta SportTrophy.
It was the first time Edwards and Fagg competed together, so they made excellent use of the reconnaissance period on Thursday to build a relationship in the car. They also took advantage of the shakedown to get a few valuable pre-start miles under their belt together and to set the car-up for the bumpy nature of the narrow Manx lanes.
The two day Manx event was split into two separate scoring rounds for the BRC Challenge with the first day, Friday, also counting as a round of the Fiesta Championship.
The main bulk of the Fiesta runners had opted to contest the International event and this would enable the High Hill Ford / GPM / Silkolene 710 / NETELLER.com backed crew to monitor the progress of their rivals as they ran later on the road.
Dry sunny conditions greeted the crews as they left the start at the TT Grandstand in Douglas with eight demanding stages ahead of them throughout the day.
With Edwards having never competed on a closed road tarmac rally before the plan was to start at a comfortable pace and build on that as the day progressed but with a view of keeping in touch with the tarmac regulars in the series, Craig Breen, Mark Donnelly and Kris Hall.
Prior to contesting the first stage though they received news that two of the leading Fiesta's had hit trouble. Mark Donnelly was forced to retire after a collision with a solid bank and Kris Hall had rolled loosing around 3 minutes.
As a result of Hall's roll and a combination of other factors the organisers awarded Breen's time to the remaining Fiesta runners but as Edwards and Fagg were running in a separate event their time 30 seconds slower would stand and leave the new pairing on the back foot.
Next up was the tricky test through the Kella stage. A controlled, mature drive saw a fourth quickest time behind Breen, Stefan Davis and Ross Forde, both the latter having previous experience of the event unlike Edwards.