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Racing Ahead – An Update from Rally Driver Alex Laffey

The U-Student sponsored rally team competed in the Manx National Rally at the weekend. Driver Alex Laffey for Team Laffey sent us this update:

“The weather was not good for the race and the forecast looked terrible for the whole weekend but by Friday lunch time the weather was dry and as we went though the shakedown there was very little water on the stage. Me and co-driver Jack got a good feeling in the car and were happy to start the event.

By Friday evening and the stage was still dry and the rain had stay away mainly. A couple of small mistakes like stalling the car on a very tight hairpin, in the first few stages lost us some time but the pace was much better in the car than the last event. Going into the stage we felt really good in the car and started to push on, until we were stopped mid-stage by other competitors and spectators due to a big accident stopping the stage.

Eventually the stage was canceled with ourselves and an other competitor stuck in the stage for hours but we finally got back up and running and we set some decent times, heading back out to do the last two stages in total darkness and while sitting in the line at the start the rain started to fall, this made stage 6 tricky but we got though 6 and 7 ok to finish the night.

Saturday brought about a fresh start we where lying 44th and 1st in class by over 2 minutes. There had been a lot of overnight rain, leaving a lot of standing water on the already tricky lanes, but clean driving saw us increase our pace and our overall positions in the first loop of stages.

Service was again fine but two stages in to the second loop of stages we started to notice the wheels spinning between gearshifts, we pushed on to the finish of the stage where it was straight on the phone to the engineer after determining it was the clutch.

We limped the car though the last stage of the loop and lost about 30 seconds doing so. After making it into service the team was straight on with changing the clutch. It was amazing to watch the team work taking apart most of the car and putting it back together. They finished the clutch change with about a minute to spare. Getting the car from the service bay to the time control was tough on a fresh clutch and we had used all our late time with the changes.

We were a few seconds late to the control but not knowing this me and jack continued on to the next to stages and put a couple of good times in. Unfortunately on the return to service we found out we had went OTL (over the time limit) and had to retire from the event.

Despite this rallying in the Isle of Man was great. We had a great improvement in pace from the last event, the tour of Epynt. After driving the car in such tricky conditions myself and my navigator Jack Morton are confident for more improvements come the Jim Clark Rally in a couple of weeks time. The rally is the the only closed public road rally on the UK mainland, set in the Scottish borders and is an event not to be missed for Motorsport fans.”

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