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 event!
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 slackened.
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…!