Now recognised as one of the most important rallies on the European
Championship calendar, the 1989 Tudor Webasto Manx Rally will be remembered for
the ultra-fast stage action, the changeable weather, the all-out driving of the
top competitors and the controversy – both at the beginning and the end of the
As far as drivers were concerned, Belgian Robert Droogmans headed the
European contingent in his Fina Cosworth, whilst in the British Shell Oils
championship series, Russell Brookes and Welshman David Llewellin were the hot
favourites. Brookes’s team-mate, brilliant tarmac driver Mark Lovell, arguably
the best in Britain, was also tipped by many as a winner.
The three-day event was filled with action and drama and out of 111
starters only 65 completed the full, gruelling schedule. At times low cloud
reduced visibility to just 50 metres but the pace of the top runners hardly
And at the end of the rally, well, it was difficult to know who to
congratulate… but the fans knew who was the rightful winner…!