Reigning Manx rally champion Nigel Cannell, with wife Michaela on the pace-notes dominated the opening night of the Chris Kelly Memorial Rally.
The Mitsubishi 9 crew stormed through the opening 14-mile test at St Marks in cold but dry and clear conditions, though with standing water in places on all the stages, to open a huge 33 second lead over fellow locals Steve Colley/Mark Rodman’s Evo 8 version.
Last years winner John Cope was in third in his Subaru WRC.
Sadly they were the only crews to complete the test as Sean Kelly/Emma Kennaugh rolled their new Evo 9 out of the rally at mid-distance, blocking the stage. Emma was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.
The rally heads north today (Saturday) to a Jurby base for eight further stages at St Judes, Druidale and Staarvey before finishing with two runs of a town centre stage in Ramsey in the afternoon.