Top marks! – Duggan is the man on the Manx!
Irish native and Vauxhall Motorsport UK driver Rob Duggan rounded out an almost perfect season by taking his fifth win on the MSA DMACK Junior British Rally Championship last weekend on Rally Isle of Man. Having already secured the junior title on the previous round in Ulster, Duggan was able to drive without pressure on the Manx and secured another junior win, as well as a top 10 finish on the infamous island.
Duggan and co-driver Ger Conway suffered an early scare on the season finale however. With the opening stages of the event held in darkness on Thursday night, the map light needed for Conway to read his all important pacenotes failed. A temporary light was found in the form of a mobile phone which saw the pair through an eventful opening night with a slender advantage! Day 2 was by far the longest days rallying in the championship and it was here that Duggan came into his own, revelling in the fast, flowing roads of the island. With a lead of over 2 minutes at the end of a marathon day, the current Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year could enjoy the final trio of stages on Sunday, eventually arriving back at the iconic TT Grandstand as the junior winner by almost 3 minutes ahead of nearest chaser, Sindre Furuseth.
Speaking after the rally a delighted Rob said; “To see out the season with another junior win is fantastic. We didn’t need the result here but we wanted it and it’s all the sweeter because of it. The island is a daunting place but to finish as top 2 wheel drive car and inside the top 10 on my first visit here is something I am very proud of. Having learned so much on gravel events this year, it was nice to go to a new tarmac rally and learn there as it’s my favourite surface. The event was superb and the mix of street stages along with the typical Manx lanes meant you never had a chance to relax. It was lovely to drive without the pressure of the championship hanging over me and allowed me to just get on with driving. Simon and the team at Vauxhall gave me a perfect car once again and for the Vauxhall Adam R2 to maintain a 100% finishing record in the championship is a testament to their hard work and preparation.”
Following his all conquering season, Duggan remains unsure about his next move but rest assured he is keen to build on the momentum he has gained in 2016. He explains; “We are looking at all available options for 2017. Fortunately, we have a few months now to take stock of everything to try and make the most of our efforts these past few years. I’m lucky to be in this position at the age of 23 but keeping momentum in my career is the key going forward. It might be unrealistic to think I could have another year as perfect as this one but that isn’t going to stop me trying. So many people have helped to get me to this point in my career and I owe it to them and myself to really build on the success of this year.”