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RALLY NEWS No.1 - After SS1 - Friday @ 11:07:09

RALLY NEWS NO.1 Montalto House Regroup/Friday 11 am

1ST (2) Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Fabia S2000) 3.54.0
2ND (3) Kevin Abbring/Seb Marshall (Peugeot 208 T16) 3.56.2
3RD (1) Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Peugeot 208 T16) 3.57.1
4TH (4) Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (Fabia S2000) 3.58.6
5TH (5) Robert Barrable/Stuart Loudon (Fiesta R5) 4.00.6
6TH (6) Sam Moffett/James O`Reilly (Fiesta RRC) 4.02.3
1st (103) Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Focus WRC) 3.56.8
2nd (101) Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy (Impreza WRC) 3.59.2
3rd (102) Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Impreza WRC) 4.00.9
4th (105) Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Mini WRC) 4.07.9
5th (106) Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr (Impreza WRC) 4.09.7
6th (104) Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Mini WRC) 4.11.7

Beautiful bright sunshine bathed the Co. Down countryside on this Good Friday spring morning as the leading cars left the Titanic Quarter in Belfast and headed for the first special stage outside Newtownards. The Finnish driver Esapekka Lappi was fastest on that tricky 4.33km test from Kevin Abbring with Craig Breen 3rd. Just a couple of seconds covered the top drivers. Lappi in his Skoda reported no problems while Abbring said. `It was very challenging but a good start`. Wiegand in the 2nd of the works Skodas said. `I am happy, maybe I brake a little early at times but it is a long way to go`. Craig Breen said. `It is very special to drive here. The worst of the rally is over with the first 2km of that stage`.

Just some of the stories from the International category included Sam Moffett having some under-steering worries with his Fiesta RRC and it affected his confidence. Robert Consani clipped a front left wheel of his Peugeot on the very first corner that did not help his confidence either. Neil Simpson, who crunched the front of his Skoda on the test stages yesterday, was using that first stage to shake things down today. Neil was 9th quickest. Daniel McKenna was really surprised to be the fastest of the Citroen DS3s and 10th o/a. Korhonen in his similar Citroen was 14th with Jonny Greer close behind. Zoltan Bessenyey was in early brake troubles with his Civic.

In the National category of the rally, as can be seen above, Donagh Kelly was fastest from Garry Jennings. Garry had a few brake problems before the start of the event but everything seemed OK in the stage. Donagh Kelly reported a good run. It is interesting that the fastest world rally car was a fraction slower than the fastest of the R5/S2000 cars. Eugene Donnelly was very cautious through the opening sequence of very tight corners and paid the price by dropping a few seconds. Derek McGarrity picked a hard compound tyre for his Mini WRC. He reckoned it was the wrong tyre for that stage but it will pay off later on over the fast abrasive stages. Kenny McKinstry had a slight overshoot at a junction that cost a second or two.
More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON (with thanks to Michael & Zoe Patterson) www.rallynews.net *Follow RallyNews on Twitter @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews

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