The Burma Road on Epynt is a very tricky and technical section where bravery and precision can reap its rewards – and so it proved for Melvyn Evans/Mark Glennerster, with a planned attack there seeing them power to victory on Sunday’s Melvyn Evans Motorsport Tour of Epynt.

The Subaru Impreza WRC S12b duo had been tied with Damian Cole/Jamie Edwards after the first two stages, but they gradually pulled away to win the opening round of the 2018 Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship by 39 seconds. Cole never put a foot wrong either, with the six-time MSA Asphalt Rally Champion getting his series off to a good start with second in his Ford Fiesta WRC. In only their second event in a less powerful Fiesta S2000, Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke completed the top three – even setting fastest time on the wet seventh and final stage. They’ll return for Round 2, the Manx National, in their Focus WRC05 – looking for their fourth win on the event in the car.

Last year’s Tour of Epynt winner and number one seed Bob Fowden was third (16 seconds behind Evans and five seconds behind Cole) when he and co-driver Aled Davies skidded off the road near the end of SS5 and beached their Subaru Impreza WRC S11 on a muddy bank and couldn’t get back on.

Bill Paynter/Andy Hollingham won the Nicky Grist Motorsports-supported 1400cc Class in their Peugeot 106 Rallye.

“It’s been six years since I last drove this Subaru Impreza WRC on Epynt – we were car number three on the Tour of Epynt in 2012 and won, and this year we were car number three and we won again, so we’ll have to be car number three more often,” said Evans. “We started off sensibly to see what our pace was like – the pace was there, so we had a push on the Burma Road on the middle loop and found that was the place we could take a bit of time out of Damian. There are lots of fast places on Epynt where it’s very difficult to make any time, so we were really fast and precise in the tricky sections and that’s what made the difference and paid dividends. All the drivers have gone well today. It’s been slippery and greasy, tyre choice has been very difficult, but it’s been a fantastic battle all the way to the finish.”

Tour of Epynt – Top 10 overall finishers
1. Melvyn Evans/Mark Glennerster (Subaru Impreza WRC)….1h04m58s
2. Damian Cole/Jamie Edwards (Ford Fiesta WRC)….+39s
3. Jason Pritchard/Phil Clarke (Ford Fiesta S2000)….+1m46s
4. Steve Simpson/Patrick Walsh (Ford Fiesta RS)….+3m23s
5. Adrian Spencer/Matt Daniels (Subaru Impreza WRC)….+3m36s
6. Paul Kirtley/David Jones (Subaru Impreza)….+4m36s
7. Wayne Sisson/Max Freeman (Mitsubishi Evo)….+5m08s
8. Gareth James/Steffan Evans (Ford Escort Mk2)….+5m09s
9. Huw Reed/Anthony Hackett (Darrian T90 GTR)….+5m25s
10. Richard Merriman/Kath Curzon (Darrian T90)….+5m26s