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Donegal International Rally
RALLY NEWS No.4 - After SS4 - Friday @ 15:46:05
RALLY NEWS NO.4 Service/Friday
1ST (1) Garry Jennings/Neil Doherty (Impreza WRC) 22.10.4
2nd (5) Darren Gass/Enda Sherry (Impreza WRC) 22.19.1
3rd (8) Sam Moffett/James O`Reilly (Impreza WRC) 22.35.6
4th (3) Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Focus WRC) 22.37.6
5th (12) John O`Donnell/Aidan Friel (Impreza WRC) 22.59.1
6th (7) Seamus Leonard/Paul McLaughlin (Impreza WRC) 23.04.5
1st (17) Gary McPhillips/Paul Sheridan (Escort) 23.13.4
2nd (18) Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon (Escort) 23.33.0
3rd (21) Damien Gallagher/Mac Walsh (Escort) 23.47.9
4th (19) Frank Kelly/Stephen Quinn (Escort) 23.48.5
5th (11) Craig Breen/Karl Atkinson (Escort) 23.50.7
6th (34) Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Escort) 23.56.1

On the 2nd run over the Brenagh stage the sun was still shining, especially on birthday boy Darren Gass who was fastest by just over 1s from Garry Jennings with Derek McGarrity 1.5s further back. It is that close and that tight at the front, just a couple of seconds covering the first few cars. Garry Jennings commented at the stage finish that he has fitted a stiffer anti roll bar to his Subaru and it feels better. Indeed Kenny McKinstry has advised him to go even stiffer for these high speed stages. Derek McGarrity reported his first clean start on a stage so far. Seamus Leonard`s Subaru clutch seemed a lot better on that stage 4. Looking back slightly we reported that Darren Gass was fastest through SS3 which was correct. However, that is now meaningless as Gass, Jennings and Sam Moffett beat the bogey for the stage.

The Group N situation remains very close. Martin Doherty was again fastest but both Stephen Wright and Josh Moffett are snapping at the Donegal man`s heels. Doherty has 10s in hand over Wright with Moffett a further 16s back. Josh told us at service that he was being conservative and plans to start pushing this afternoon. Shane Maguire is losing ground to the top 3, Shane finding his Impreza just does not have the grunt of the Lancers over the fast moorland stages.

In the National Rally there was massive disappointment for Manus Kelly who was right in the hunt for the lead but his Escort has stopped on the road section into stage 4. Gary McPhillips was fastest National through the stage from Rodney Wilton. Frank Kelly said leaving service that was going to let the psycho out of the box and certainly the First Alert man was faster than he had been, but still had to give best to McPhillips and Wilton. Craig Breen said that he felt the Escort to be totally alien to him, very wild, compared to his works Peugeots. Rodney Wilton spun his Escort in SS2 and lost a couple of seconds.

Phil Collins` Escort got hit by a swinging farm gate in SS4 that broke the mirror that then rattled against the side of the car for the rest of the stage. Most unsettling, strange but true! Paul and Karl Reid in the red Mk2 Escort were not happy when they reached service having been fastest 2 litre Escort on the Brenagh stage. A notional time then for stage 2 following the Damien Tourish accident then cost them 30s. Ashley Dickson & Wendy Blackledge managed to hold on to 2nd in class 16 despite intercom problems in their Lancer. Ashley has not done a full rally for 10 years. His rallying was curtailed then by a kidney transplant operation.
It would appear that stage 5 did not run for the top cars as there was no ambulance cover. The ambulance had to take the crew of car 142 to hospital following an accident on the first run over the stage. This was purely a precautionary measure. More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net (with thanks to Michael & Zoe Patterson) *Follow RallyNews on Twitter @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews

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