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RALLY NEWS No.5 - RALLYNEWS No.5 - Friday @ 21:47:41
RALLY NEWS NO.5 Antrim/Friday 21:40

1st (W1) Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Focus WRC) 42.48.3
2nd (W2) Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 42.57.8
3rd (W4) Aaron MacHale/Eugene O'Donnell (Focus WRC) 45.01.5

1st (4) Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts (Fiesta S2000) 43.26.3
2nd (2) Keith Cronin/Barry McNulty (Impreza N) 43.42.8
3rd (1) Gwyndaf Evans/Phil Pugh (Lancer N) 43.52.6
4th (3) Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Lancer N) 44.31.5
5th (28) Daniel McKenna/Andrew Grennan (Lancer N) 44.35.8
6th (9) Adam Gould/Craig Drew (Impreza N) 44.47.3
7th (7) Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Citroen DS3 R3) 45.09.9
8th (5) Jonny Greer/Dai Roberts (Lancer N) 45.32.1
9th (24) Marty McCormack/David Moynihan (Citroen C2R2 Max) 46.04.9
10th (8) Jason Pritchard/Robbie Durant (Impreza N) 46.26.1

With just over 10s separating the two lead cars in the WRC section of this Ulster Rally, and 16s splitting the top 2 in the Rally NI part, there is some massive action promised for tomorrows eight stages through the county Antrim countryside. When Gareth MacHale brought his Focus WRC into Antrim service, he told us, “We are still driving fast but with caution. I’ve enjoyed it so far. The stages are difficult, I wouldn’t like it to have been raining. Tomorrow we are simply going for tarmac championship points.” Gareth’s co-driver, Brian Murphy, reminded us that the times tonight on the two stages that were exactly the same last year were faster. Derek McGarrity reckoned he backed off a little too much on the second Torr Head test, the very low sun making visibility difficult. Third placed Aaron MacHale said, “I though that was better on the second run but I am getting hammered on the times. I am just back from my holidays, feel disorganised, but no excuses.” The Dutch crew of Arjen de Koning and his co-driver Hein are well over 3 minutes behind Aaron and although they are having a ball in their Lancer, they just can’t believe stages like Torr Head and Glendun.”

In the Rally NI, which counts for both the Dulux Trade and Citroen Tarmac Championships, Craig Breen had a fabulous run this evening to lead the rally by 16s. Keith Cronin was the faster of the two over the last three stages but it was only by a second here and there. Craig said, “I think that Rally Finland really helped me tonight, carrying more speed, keeping it smooth, making the car do the work especially over the crests. Stage 1 & 4 were difficult for us. The car was on the rev limiter but it is only 106mph. I like tomorrows stages, especially Tardree. We went well there last year.” Keith Cronin told us, “We have stiffened the back and front suspension. I pushed as hard as I could tonight and had a real clean run. Tomorrow it is all about championship points.” Gwyndaf Evans in third place is also looking good for tomorrow. Alastair Fisher in fourth said his Lancer is fine now, that he has got over the earlier suspension breakage but it is a very fast pace. Daniel McKenna, seeded way back at 28, has really opened a few eyes tonight to maintain his fifth place. Adam Gould has done well to overcome a few small problems to hold on to sixth.

Works Citroen driver Brian Bouffier said, “It is quite good, and I am doing my best.” Bouffier went on to say that the car has really good dampers with lots of high speed and low speed adjustment and the team will be working hard to get the set up just right for the end of the rally. In the race between the two top Citroen C2R2 Max machines, Robert Barrable pulled time back on Marty McCormack over tonight’s stages. There is a big battle between these two and Marty is reportedly doing a rain dance as he much prefers wet, slippery conditions. Hopefully his wish is not granted. We don’t want the rain! Neil McCance is still driving a very steady rally in his quest for Irish Mitsubishi Evo points. Elfyn Evans is 14th in his Fiesta and is having a really good run. Daniel Sigurdarson is 15th. Tommy Doyle has retired his Clio on SS5 when he collided with a chicane very hard and did some damage to the car.

Sam Moffatt managed to get his Lancer into service having battled for three stages with a broken brake pipe and mostly no brakes. At one point Sam and co-driver James O’Reilly took the wheel off the lancer and squeezed the pipe shut. However, by this time, all the brake fluid had gone. Sam ran into a nearby shop to buy a tin of brake fluid but the woman in the shop flatly refused to take Euros which is all Sam had. He pleaded and pleaded with her but to no avail. A lady who was in the shop put sterling down on the counter and said, “Take it out of that” to the shop keeper. This lady then walked out and Sam has no idea who she is. It kept Sam in the rally!

In the Historic part of the rally, after 3 stages, Ray Cunningham / Ross Forde in their Mini Cooper led Dessie Nutt / Geraldine McBride, Jonathon Gale was third in his Tiger. In category 2 of the Historics, David Stokes / Guy Weaver led in their Escort from the Porsche of Keith McIvor / David Burns. Jeremy Easson was third and Derek Boyd fourth, both in Escorts. In Cl3 of the Historics, Connor Corkill led from Will Onions with Roger Kilty third, all in Escorts.

More news later: BRIAN PATTERSON & CHRISTEL DEBERDT & CIARA CONLAN www.rallynews.net
*For SMS results text RALLY ITC to 53030 (Irl) or RALLY ITC to 60066 (UK). Text STOP to switch off. Cost 30c/25p. Provided by stagetimes.com

2020 Patterson Agencies

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