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Circuit of Ireland
RALLY NEWS No.2 - Armagh - Saturday @ 13:42:57
RALLY NEWS NO.2 Armagh/Saturday 1

1st (1) Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Impreza WRC) 9.02.6
2nd (4) Kenny McKinstry/Kenny Hull (Impreza WRC) 9.05.5
3rd (3) Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Impreza WRC) 9.06.1
4th (14) Phillip Morrow/Damien Connolly (Lancer) 9.19.4
5th (15) Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Lancer N) 9.23.4
6th (25) Neil McCance/Jonny Hart (Lancer N) 9.25.2
7th (11) Phil Collins/Derek Brannigan (Escort) 9.28.5
8th (28) Sam Moffett/James O'Reilly (Lancer N) 9.29.2
9th (5) Garry Jennings/David Moynihan (Lancer N) 9.29.9
10th (26) Mark Donnelly/Martin Brady (Lancer N) 9.31.3

There were dramas right away on the Circuit of Ireland when No.2 seed Darren Gass was forced to pull in towards the end of the first special stage, The Hollow. The stage started near Caledon and went north towards Benburb, spectators unofficially clocking Darren fastest 6 miles into the 9-mile stage. However it all came to naught when his Subaru ground to a halt with smoke coming from under the bonnet. Reportedly the gearbox blew up. Another early retirement was Steve Perez in his fabulous VK Energy Lancia Stratos. In his case it was the gear lever that broke on that opening stage.

Derek McGarrity led the rally after that first stage, the 4 times Circuit winner commented afterwards. “Its great to be back in a world rally car, fantastic in fact. I didn’t feel I was particularly on the pace though, the car was understeering a little and maybe the differentials are not set up right”. Derek had no time to test the car before the rally because of engine problems. Second placed Kenny McKinstry fluffed the final corner of the stage and lost a few seconds. Kevin Barrett, who is 3rd in his Triton Showers Subaru, reported a very good run.

Fastest Group N was Phillip Morrow, the Lisburn oil delivery man said. “I was driving well within myself, middle of the road”. Defending NI GpN Champion Donagh Kelly was 2nd GpN, Neil McCance was 3rd GpN and Sam Moffett 4th. Moffett was held at the stage start for 7m to facilitate a bridal party leaving the locality and he felt it might have been at a slight disadvantage as his Lancer’s tyres went cold. Garry Jennings lost a few seconds when he had an overshoot in his Lancer.

Fastest of the Mk2 Escort drivers was Hereford man Phil Collins, although he wasn’t happy with the brake bias set up on his Escort. Wesley Patterson had a time just outside the top 10 despite a left front wheel locking under braking. Last year’s National Circuit winner John Waring finished the stage with no brakes left on his Escort. Adrian Hetherington reported a lack of grip with his Escort. Ray Brammer lost a few seconds when his Impreza WRC skidded up a bank. Some other times include – NI Champion Stuart Biggerstaff on 9.38.1: John McGaffin 9.40.5: George Robinson 9.41.2.

More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net (Thanks to Michael Patterson & Sammy Hamill)

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