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RALLY NEWS No.3 - After SS3 - Saturday @ 14:00:22

RALLY NEWS NO.3 Service/Maghera/Saturday

1st (116) Sean Devine/Robert McDaid (Impreza WRC) 18.46.0
2nd (1) Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 19.06.9
3RD (14) Derek McGeehan/Eugene Donnelly (Corolla WRC) 19.09.2
4th (4) Camillus Bradley/Danny O'Neill (Escort) 19.20.5
5th (8) Seamus O'Connell/Andrew Grennan (Escort) 19.30.0
6th (3) Declan McNaughton/Sean Hayde (Escort) 19.46.6
7th (5) Raymond Johnston/Rodney Hicks (Lancer N) 19.50.6
8th (6) George Robinson/Tommy Speers (Impreza WRC) 19.52.8
9th (7) Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Escort) 19.53.2
10th (119) Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Lancer N) 19.55.2

Sean Devine had, in his own words, “a wild balls up” at the start of stage 3 but otherwise has had a good run to lead the rally by 20s here at the halfway halt. Derek McGarrity on the other hand has had suspension problems and he said. “The car is virtually un-driveable, couldn’t work with the bumps. Then at the last hairpin left in stage 3 we couldn’t get round and we couldn’t get reverse.” Derek went on to say that his Prodrive engineer Michael Zotis has gone off to a nearby workshop to get some more suspension bits and they hope to get the problem sorted. Donagh Kelly was 3rd on the road but he has put his Focus WRC into a field after a chicane. There was a crest on the road after a chicane and then a medium left tightened into a bridge and Donagh’s car ended up in a field. There was a slight fire but fortunately it wasn’t too bad. Earlier in the rally Enda McNulty had crashed his Lancer and stage 1 was stopped as a result.

Derek McGeehan had a good run over the 3 stages and his co driver Eugene Donnelly told us. “We have clicking the suspension up slightly as Derek’s confidence has grown. He is still a bit nervous on the fast stuff but going well”. Raymond Johnston is the best of the GpN cars in so far and Raymond said. “We have a great brake pedal but no stopping power. We will try new pads here”. Alan Carmichael had led GpN but he has dropped a few seconds as his Lancer’s gearbox has decided to jump out of 1st and 4th gear.

George Robinson had a small intercom problem but otherwise OK. Declan McNaughton is out in a new Mk2 Escort and he has also had some intercom troubles and is lying 3rd in the Mk2 Escorts behind Seamus O’Connell and Camillus Bradley. Camillus is going to try to raise the ride height of his Escort a little and he said. “I was more cautious than I wanted to be”. Seamus O’Connell reported a big moment halfway through the 2nd stage at a fast medium right over crest jump where his car took a bit of a wander and touched a bank. Adrian Hetherington in the green Mk2 is setting decent times, just inside the leaderboard and his co driver Gary Nolan said. “We’re going 100 per cent just need to get a little quicker. I would need the sick sickness tablets for that first stage!” John Waring has had a brake problem with his Escort. Stuart Biggerstaff had a fair run through stage 3 and has clicked the suspension up on his Impreza WRC. Kieran Graffin lost a few seconds in stage 3 when his Lancer slithered up a bank.

Frank Kelly is lying just outside the leaderboard on a total of 20.05.3 and his co driver Terry Walkinshaw said. “We’re having a good day’s crack, the notes are perfect, but sometimes he’s driving zig and I’m calling zag!” Ray Brammer is running at No.21 in his Impreza WRC and was one of several drivers who got held up in stage 1. Then he had a spin and a stall at a hairpin in stage 2 and now he has “a bit of an issue” with a driveshaft. Gary McAvoy has retired his Lancer in stage 3 with engine problems.

More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net

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