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Bird has rally hat-trick in his sights

The Manx Telecom Rally blasts off from Port Erin this evening (Friday).

Winner for the last two years Paul Bird is back on the Island in search of a hat-trick in the Ford Focus World Rally car, with co-driver Kirsty Riddick.

He will face stiff competition from the likes of 2002 and 2008 winner Melvyn Evans, and Pokerstars and Chris Kelly Memorial Rally victor Mike Pattison.

The event starts from Port Erin promenade with the short 1.5 mile opening stage.

There are a further four stages this evening, at Eairy Cushlin, Tynwald, Snuff the Wind and the Plains of Heaven, with comprtitors covering a total of 37.5 miles before the overnight halt at the TT Grandstand.

Tomorrow is the second and final day of the event, with the first car due to leave the grandstand at 8.45am.

There are a further 82.65 miles of tarmac to negotiate, before the finish on the promenade at Peel.

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