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RALLY NEWS No.2 - Castlewellan Forest Park Service - Saturday @ 13:44:46

RALLY NEWS NO.2 Castlewellan Service/Saturday 13.45

1st (7) Camillus Bradley/Crawford Henderson (Escort) 14.25.3
2nd (8) Damian Toner/Denver Rafferty (Escort) 14.28.5
3rd (10) David Armstrong/Paul Mulholland (Escort) 14.29.2
4th (3) Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr (Impreza S14) 14.35.6
5th (14) Clive Kilpatrick/Jay Colville (Lancer Evo9) 14.48.8
6th (2) Brendan Cumiskey/Ronan O’Kane (Fiesta R5) 14.50.4
7th (16) John Devlin/John McCarthy (Talbot Sunbeam) 14.52.8
8th (15) Martin Taggart/Dessie Wilson (Escort Mk2) 14.53.4
9th (18) Alan Smyth/Mac Kierans (Suzuki Swift) 14.54.3
10th (83) Alastair Cochrane/Gary McElhinney (Escort) 14.56.7

Stage 2 was just as difficult as the opening test for the drivers, driving rain and rivers of water flowing down the roads. Damian Toner set fastest time to move from 5th to 2nd place. Rally leader Camillus Bradley was 4s down on Damian through that 7.12 mile Closkelt stage. Camillus’ co driver Crawford Henderson said they were slightly shaken when they were told that they were leading the rally, and it actually put Camillus off his stride a little bit. David Armstrong was 3rd fastest in the stage to hold 3rd place. He found it very slippy.

Brendan Cumiskey was 4th after that first stage but he has slipped to 6th after SS2 when his Fiesta R5 aquaplaned on a downhill section into a 6 right and spun, costing about 20s.

An indication of just how difficult the conditions are for the competitors is that number 1 seed Derek McGarrity is down in 26th position after stage 2. Derek has found his Fiesta WRC windscreen impossibly misted up. He has tried a few magic potions on the glass here at service and his co driver James O’Reilly is clutching a stick with a squeegee on the end of it to give the screen a wipe if needed in stage 3! Derek commented as he left service. ‘If the screen is no better in this next stage I am going to pull out of the rally’. Mother Nature may however be playing into Derek’s hands as the rain has, for the moment stopped, and blue skies have appeared over the Co. Down countryside. The interesting scenario to all this is that McGarrity has to finish 7th or better to clinch the McGrady Insurance NI Championship otherwise the title is likely to go to Camillus Bradley.

Kenny McKinstry was another in de-misting difficulties and he is hoping for a better run this time. The stages are quite close to the McKinstry base and he will be anxious to really make a push. Emma McKinstry said after stage 2 that she may as well have been stopped at Tesco’s her time was so bad.

Alan Smyth continues to lead the R2 category in his Suzuki Swift despite having banged the rear left corner of the car against the scenery. As well as damaging the back axle this also pulled some stones out on to the road which affected the following drivers. Alan’s mechanics were busy at service porta-powering the rear axle beam straight and Alan was hoping to be back on course for the next stage.

In the Historic section Andy Johnson in his Chevette HSR leads Drew Wylie (Escort) by approximately 30s. Keith White in his Mk1 Escort is in the main rally running in the Modified category and he said he was playing it very safe through the opening stages. Wesley Patterson/Johnny Baird have crashed out of the rally in SS2, their Escort collided with a house as well as the car in the drive. Wesley and Johnny are reported to be both OK.

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

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