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Ulster Rally 2017
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Ebrinton Service - Friday @ 15:22:34
 
RALLY NEWS NO.1 Ebrington Service Friday

UNOFFICIAL LEADERBOARD AFTER STAGE 1 – Holly Hill 1

1st (5) Keith Cronin/Mikie Galvin (Fiesta R5) 11.02.4
2nd (1) Fredrik Ahlin/Torstein Eriksen (Fabia R5) 11.10.2
3rd (3) Sam Moffett/Karl Atkinson (Fiesta R5) 11.12.8
4th (2) Alastair Fisher/Gordon Noble (Fiesta R5) 11.16.2
5th (12) Matt Edwards/Darren Garrod (Fiesta R5) 11.18.1
6th (4) Osian Pryce/Dale Furness (Fiesta R5) 11.18.5
7th (9) Desi Henry/Liam Moynihan (Fabia R5) 11.25.4
8th (7) Marty McCormack/David Moynihan (Fabia R5) 11.35.0
9th (8) Jonny Greer/Kirsty Riddick (Citroen DS3R5) 11.35.6
10th (14) Rhys Yates/Alex Lee (Fiesta R5) 11.46.4
News coming in from stage 2 is that Alistair Fisher’s Fiesta has an engine problem, both Desi Henry and Marty McCormack slowed with punctures and Keith Cronin was fastest.

Heavy rain threatened to make the going treacherous for the drivers as they tackled the first of the weekend’s fourteen special stages. The opening test, Holly Hill Between Dunnamanagh and Strabane was 11.58 miles and Keith Cronin did a heroic job to power his Fiesta through it in just over 11 minutes. Fredrik Ahlin was a further eight seconds back with Sam Moffett another two in arrears.

Interestingly the first six cars did however enjoy relatively dry conditions and then the heavens opened so that drivers such as Marty McCormack and Desi Henry reported that it was raining so hard at times that they could not see the road. Number one seed Fredrik Alhin reported a clear run through the stage. Second car on the road Alistair Fisher picked a wet weather tyre that should work well on the next stage (Mary Gray) but were not great through Holly Hill. Keith Cronin picked a soft and super soft compound tyre for the back of his Fiesta R5 and they obviously worked well.

Typical of the some of the driver comments at stage finish were for example Stephen Wright saying “glad to get through that”, Joe McGonigle said “I just didn’t push my luck” Callum Devine was fastest of the R2 runners and when his Opel Adam came to a halt he said “there was a lot of standing water and this little car can be very tricky in those conditions”. Callum’s closest rival for R2 through that stage was William Creighton and his Peugeot 208 indulged in a big overshoot at a SqL corner when the wheels locked up on standing water. Along with several other drivers Creighton was off the road on the shakedown stage this morning so that certainly gave him a wake-up call. Another young driver in the R2 category is Welshman Meirion Evans and his Peugeot finished the stage with quite a lot of superficial body damage and his time was almost one minute off the pace. Marty Gallagher had a decent run considering the conditions and he was just a handful of seconds behind William Creighton. Norweigan Oscar Solberg has certainly been thrown in at the deep end on what we believe is his first Irish rally but he was doing quite well to hold 35th place in his Fiesta with Kyle White in his Peugeot one place behind.

In the National category Alan Carnmichael in the McGeehan Mini was fastest amongst the early runners with Kevin Eves next up in his Corolla 27 seconds back and Eugene Meegan in his BMW a further seven behind. Paul Britton lost some time when his GpN Impreza suffered from steamed up windows. Kevin Eves is on his first rally outing since his Donegal accident and although he struggled to get the power down at the rear of his Corolla he said that he enjoyed the stage. Michael Dunlop got through the first stage okay on a time of 13.32.9 just ahead of Stanley Orr who leads the Historics. Principal non starters from the original entry include Robert Barrable (6) Josh Moffett (13) Martin Cairns (17) Vivian Hamill (21) James Slaughter (32) and Ernie Graham (BMW).

Brian, Liz, Michael & Zoe Patterson www.rallynews.net *Follow RallyNews on Twitter & Facebook @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews


 
 
 



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