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West Cork Rally
RALLY NEWS No.2 - Owenahincha - Saturday @ 15:01:06
RALLY NEWS NO.2 End of stage 1/Saturday

1st (1) Daragh O`Riordan/Tony McDaid (Fiesta WRC) 10.19.7
2nd (2) Brian O`Mahony/John Higgins (Impreza WRC) 10.25.1
3rd (4) John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian) 10.26.7

Unfortunately the opening stage, the 17.5km Glandore test, was interrupted when the Subaru of third on the road Kevin Kelleher went on fire towards the stage finish. Denis Cronin, who was running two cars behind the Impreza of Kelleher, said he could smell smoke for quite a distance before the came upon the stricken Subaru. John Dalton in the Darrian was also behind Kelleher but did not realise the extent of the situation and he went on tot he finish, although he did lose a few seconds. Cronin stopped with the Kelleher brothers and emptied his fire extinguisher on the conflagration, as did Owen Murphy. So they did not get times. Neither did Frank Kelly, Damien McCarthy or JJ Fleming, who were all delayed.

In McCarthy`s case it could be academic anyway. Damien and his co-driver Eamonn Hayes were extremely despondent to have to pull in at the end of the stage as their Civic engine was red hot. It transpired that there was a water leak from the engine block and their rally may be over.

Out at the front of the rally Daragh O`Riordan was fastest although he said that he was just playing himself in. Although the roads are bone dry and the weather is fine they did come across a puddle in the stage and could not find the wiper switch to clear the screen! Brian O`Mahony was very disappointed to lose quite a few seconds at the stage start because of some confusion. However, he got through the stage OK and is settling in to the new Impreza WRC S14, although he feels the car is sitting a bit low. Having said that, the Glandore stage is probably the bumpiest test of the rally as well as being one of the longest. Brian`s left hand is still bandaged up following his injury last year but it did not seem to be causing any problem.

John Dalton in the Darrian also found the Glandore stage very bumpy and the car was bottoming out slightly. Owen Murphy in the Lancer finished the stage with a fierce smell of rubber from the car. Owen reckoned the tyres had just overheat4ed. Frank Kelly also had a good run in his totally rebuilt Escort although he said that his day so far had been frantic. Wesley Patterson was having trouble selecting the gears in his Escort, although he did manage to finish the stage without having to stop at the Kelleher incident. He recorded a time of 11.03.5. Ed O`Callaghan did 10.44: Adrian Hetherington 10.34.3.

More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net Follow RallyNews on Twitter @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews

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