UNOFFICIAL NAT/ L/BOARD AFTER STAGE 8 Hayes Cross
1st (20) Kevin Eves/William Lynch (Corolla) 56.14.3
2nd (12) Gary Kiernan/Ryan Moore (Escort) 56.21.6
3rd (11) Brian Brogan/Damien McGettigan (Escort RS) 56.31.3
4th (14) Adrian Hetherington/Andrew Grennan (Escort) 57.56.5
5th (18) Eugene Meegan/Sarah Whelan (BMW M1) 58.21.0
Through this afternoon’s stages Donagh Kelly in his Focus World Rally car has continued to clock fastest times despite remarking several times on just how slippy and greasy the roads feel. Donagh has been consistently a second or two faster than the best of the R5 cars. Sam Moffett has led the R5 pack from the start of the day but he has been coming under increased pressure on recent stages from Robert Barrable. Interestingly Sam seems cool and composed but he feels pressure from having been the hound to now being the hare. For his part Robert Barrable in the Hyundai says everything has gone well but there is more and more mud being pulled out onto the road making the going slippy. Stephen Wright picked too soft a tyre and also indulged in a spin in stage seven. Josh Moffett had some discussions with his engineer Tom Gaffin, they softened Josh’s Fiesta suspension and it seems to have resulted in better times for the last couple of stages. David Guest continues to lead GpN and on unofficial times is lying just outside the top ten. Unofficially we have Joe McGonigle in seventh in the International, Brendan Cumiskey eighth. Dundalk man Brendan has softened the suspension on his Fabia to try and combat the slippy roads. Aaron MacHale did lose time with a puncture earlier and thought then that he had another puncture on stage eight but it turned out to be just mud in the wheel, Aaron said his job is now to get the car home and in one piece. Welsh driver Tomas Davis is lying just behind Cumiskey but Tomas was disconcerted when his Fiesta R5 lost power in stage eight. Tomas needs an engineer to look at the engine, he thinks it is something to do with the pop up valve.
In the modified section Kevin Eves set the fastest time through stage eight in his Corolla. So far Kevin has driven a brilliant rally. Brian Brogan was totally dominant last year and when we talked to him here at service he said ‘nothing wrong, just not going quick enough’. Patrick McHugh is lying just outside the above top five and he seems to be going well. Frank Kelly has had his Escort half shaft fixed and he is running in rally 2.
Over on the Border Counties Rally, opening round of the BRC, Fredrik Alhin has taken victory from Tom Cave. Keith Cronin slipped from third to fourth with an average time on the last stage to be pipped at the post by Osian Pryce. Jonny Greer was eighth. Dean Rafftery was second in juniors behind Oscar Solberg. William Creighton was third junior.
More news later: Brian & Liz & Michael & Zo? Patterson *Follow RallyNews on Twitter & Facebook @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews