If ever there was proof that the latest R5 specification Mitsubishi Mirage is a competitive package, then the performance of the Spencer Sport cars in the Manx National Rally clearly demonstrated it.

Having ended the first leg of the event second overall against rivals in WRC machinery, Jamie Jukes of Llandysul and Dave Williams were all set for a podium finish until they retired after an accident on the second day.

Defying the fact that it was their debut in their brand new Mirage, teammates Philip Hopkins and David Jenkins had a trouble-free run to finish a credible ninth overall.

Having undergone a programme of development since the end of last season, the R5-specification Mirage has benefited from a series of small, but effective updates and, for the Spencer Sport team, the Manx National Rally marked the first outing for the latest version of the Mitsubishi.

Driving an R5 specification car, Jamie and Dave were seeded at nine and posted the third-fastest time overall through the first of the evening’s six stages. After a further four stages they headed back for the overnight halt occupying second place.

Unfortunately on the Saturday they suffered a problem after landing awkwardly after a jump, the car spun down the road and bounced off the surrounding banks.

Whilst both crew members emerged from the incident unscathed, it was clear from the bodywork and suspension damage that the Mirage was going no further.

“It had all gone exceptionally well up until then”, explained Jamie. “Apparently it’s a jump that has caught out a lot of people in the past and now my name’s added to the list, together with Colin McRae and Ari Vatanen.”

After a carefully considered start, whilst they acclimatised themselves to their brand new Hopkins Motorsport liveried Mirage, Philip and David quickly gained confidence.

They crossed the finishing line in Douglas that evening extremely satisfied to have finished ninth overall.