Stephen Petch junior experienced one of the biggest crashes of his career on an incident packed Rally Isle of Man, round 3 of the 2006 Tesco 99 Octane MSA British Rally Championship.
Stephen, who debut his SG Petch Motorsport run Mitsubishi Evo IX on the island earlier in the year, had been eagerly anticipating this event. With its notoriously changeable weather conditions and tricky roads the island is not for the faint hearted and the young County Durham driver was confident that the event would suit his driving style.
Stage 1 got off to a bad start when Stephen slowed to ensure that Roman Kresta, who had crashed out, was alright. With the anti-lag on his Mitsubishi inadvertently turned off Stephen struggled through most of the stage before realising his error. These two incidents combined resulted in Stephen posting a relatively slow time.
Stage 2, run over slightly faster and more flowing roads saw Stephen and co-driver Michael Wilkinson up the pace considerably, but then, as the pair neared the finish they were slowed as young Stuart Jones had crashed out heavily and his car was partially blocking the stage. Stephen, presuming the stage had been stopped, halted at the accident to ensure that the crew were both ok before slowly continuing to the finish. Despite the majority of the crews receiving nominal times the SG Petch Scalextric Mitsubishi driver was awarded his actual time, costing him even more time!
The final 3 stages of day 1 went without incident and despite struggling in the dusk on the final stage, where running with lights seemed to make no difference, Stephen still set some fairly quick times but was not happy to be lying just inside the top 30!