Jamie Coward cemented himself as one of the favourites for Monday’s Junior race, setting the fastest time of the 2012 Manx Grand Prix Festival so far as qualifying continued on the mountain course on Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, Ryan Farquhar was the fastest Classic 500cc rider once again as the Ulsterman made the most of settled weather conditions to improve his time from the previous session. Farquhar was the pacesetter on Tuesday after clocking 21:02.809s but shaved almost half a minute off the target time on Wednesday. The 499cc Paton accounted for the two quickest laps of the evening Olie Linsdell a distant second at present ahead of Chris Palmer and Bob Owen.

Farquhar’s charge was temporarily halted by a red flag following a crash for Adam Nix. The newcomer had gone down at Sarah’s and although he was conscious at the scene, was taken to Nobles Hospital for checks.

Once the session resumed, Coward came to the fore on his 600cc Suzuki with a 119.530mph lap, almost forty seconds quicker over the lap than his nearest rival Wayne Kirwan. In the classic Superbike class, Russ Mountford moved to the top of the leaderboard on 20:07.93, 23 seconds clear of local rider Dan Kneen while Trevor Ferguson was top of the Supertwins timesheet.

Wednesday also saw plenty of improvements from the newcomers Sweden’s Bjorn Gunnarsson the fastest of all, pushing former leader Dean Roberts down into second place. John Simpson was third for Splitlath Redmond while Kamil Holan of the Czech Republic continued the international flavour in fourth.