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RALLY NEWS No.2 - After SS1 - Sunday @ 09:24:43
RALLY NEWS NOI.2 End of stage 1/Sunday
1st (1) Denis Cronin/Helen O'Sullivan (Impreza WRC) 9.43
2nd (4) Daragh O'Riordan/Tony McDaid (Impreza WRC) 9.47
3rd (2) Melvyn Evans/Patrick Walsh (Impreza WRC) 9.54
4th (6) Kevin Kelleher/Charlie McEnery 9Lancer N) 10.02
5th (3) Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Impreza WRC) 10.03
6th (12) Sean Flanagan/Brian Duggan (Impreza N)# 10.15
7th (9) Ed O'Callaghan/Ger Clancy (Escort) 10.16
8th (10) Brian O’Mahony/John Higgins (Clio) 10.23
9th (8) Declan & Brian Boyle (Escort) 10.25
10th (20) Vincent O'Shea/Brian Hickey 9Esc.Cos) 10.20

Frost in the fields and a clear blue sky but a bright low sun spelt trouble for the top drivers as they sped through the opening stage. The sun was really blinding in places particularly on some of the fast stretches. Denis Cronin, now recovered from the flue that meant his retirement from the Cork 20, was fastest. Denis, last year’s winner, said. “It was fine. The sun was a bit of a problem and the back end of the car was kicking a little but it was fine”. Not so fortunate was his nephew Keith. He clipped a stone on a very fast sweeping section and punctured a tyre on his Lancer. The British Champion dropped 5m changing the errant wheel.

Daragh O’Riordan remarked at stage finish “Yes, the watery sun was a problem on the fast bits but it’s the same for everybody.” Kevin Kelleher was the fastest of the Group N drivers from Sean Flanagan. Jer O’Donovan was a few seconds back on 10.46. Brian O’Keefe in his GpN Impreza recorded 10.47. Thomas Fitzmaurice had all sorts of problems including stalling the car at stage finish and then lots of smoke from the exhaust, so much so that they thought the Lancer was going to go on fire. Eugene Meegan did 10.38 following an overshoot at the 2nd last junction caused by late braking and not being able to see in the bright sun.

Ed O’Callaghan was quickest of the Mk2 Escort drivers from Declan Boyle. Donegal man Declan said he was being a little cautious on that opening stage. Mike Quinn was bedding the brakes in on his Escort and was 3s down on Boyle. Berian Richards in the Impreza WRC at 16 finished the stage going very slowly and said that he could be out of the rally, that the Subaru has gear problems. There was no sign of Shane Maguire at stage finish. He was reportedly working at his Subaru’s intercom at stage start. Some other times: Brian O’Keefe 10.37: Alan O’Callaghan 10.55: Lloyd Hutchinson went very well in his Mini and did 10.32 which will probably be good enough to lead class 9. Damien McCarthy in his Cl.11 Civic also had a fine run, his time 10.35.
On the opening Sunday stage on Rally Spain Sordo was fastest from Petter Solberg with Loeb 3rd. In overall terms Loeb leads Petter by 46s with Sordo 3rd a further 12s back. Latvala is 4th 28s behind Sordo. 3 more stages to go…More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net

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