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Philip Wylie/Jim Howe in their MGB had a massive battle with Dessie Nutt/Geraldine McBride in their Porsche 911, during the Cork 20 on 7/8 October - the forth round of the Toshiba Irish Historic Tarmac Rally Championship.
Nutt, who had clinched the British Historic Championship crown the previous weekend, had trailed Wylie for most of the first day, after a blistering start from the MGB crew in very slippery conditions. "The damp is a great leveller and at times it was like being in the forests with the car drifting at 100 mph and spinning the wheels in third!" Nutt, after a severe telling off by his navigator, piled on the pressure as the day wore on and went into then overnight halt, after some 60 stage miles, with a slim 3 second lead over Wylie. Over a minute behind was third placed Martin Boyle, 1999's Irish Historic Tarmac Champion, in his Lotus power Anglia.
Sunday saw blue sky's, despite prayers for rain from the MGB crew. On the first stage out, Nutt extend his lead by 15 seconds, over what was one of the most difficult of the rally's 14 special stages. The spectacular post-historic Mk1 Escort of Martin Freestone and the unbelievably rapid post-historic Mini of Lloyd Hutchinson, both came to grief on this stage. "I knew this would be Dessie's stage as I had recced it with him - although I only had one run over it while he had three. Dessie's precision and power were just too much for us." said Wylie. Despite this, Wylie continued to swap seconds with Dessie over the next 5 stages and forcing the champion into an unusual error, which resulted in a crumpled back quarter panel on the distinctive yellow Porsche. "We kept threatening to take the spare wheel and maybe even the navigator, out of the car to lighten it, for the last stage. However, in reality we were content to back off giving Dessie a 40 sec lead at the end" cl! aimed Wylie. That aside, the Hertfordshire based Wylie was very happy with second, some 4 minutes ahead of 3rd placed crew Alan Courtney/Peter Martin in their light weight Lotus powered Mk1 Cortina.
The proof of the pace of this leading Historic pair is that their stage times would have put them in the top 35 of 120 modern starters for the Cork 20 – a rally which included no less that seven full-house World Rally Cars.
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