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RALLY NEWS No.2 - After SS4 - Friday @ 13:33:18

RALLY NEWS NO.2 Titanic Quarter Belfast. Friday

1st (2) Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Fabia S2000) 25.39.0
2nd (3) Kevin Abbring/Seb Marshall (Peugeot 208 T16) 25.45.0
3rd (1) Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Peugeot 208 T16) 25.47.2
4th (4) Sepp Wiegand/Frank Christian (Fabia S2000) 26.23.3
5th (5) Robert Barrable/Stuart Loudon (Fiesta R5) 26.23.6
6th (6) Sam Moffett/James O`Reilly (Fiesta RRC) 26.24.6
1st (101) Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy (Impreza WRC) 20.17.5
2nd (103) Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Focus WRC) 20.20.9
3rd (102) Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Impreza WRC) 20.28.7
4th (104) Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Mini WRC) 20.35.0
5th (105) Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Mini WRC) 20.46.1
6th (106) Kenny McKinstry/Noel Orr (Impreza WRC) 20.55.6

The regroup after stage 3 Hamilton`s Folly was at Montalto House and was like a scene from a move set in the beautiful sunshine. As the drivers took time out for a sip of coffee and some shortbread there was time to catch up on the rally situation. Finnish driver Esapekka Lappi is certainly setting the pace and he was really cool despite the warmth of the sunshine. The former Finnish Champion reported no problems. When asked about his tyre choice and having another 2 stages to go before service, he just shrugged and said. `Same for everybody`. Interestingly, Lappi`s performance on the asphalt stage in Greece a few weeks ago were nothing like as dominant as they are here. All we can put it down to is that the Skoda team has had the experience of rally here 2 years ago. Craig Breen dropped a couple of seconds to both Lappi and his team mate Kevin Abbring on the Hamilton`s Folly stage. Craig`s Peugeot 208 suffered a shattered rear screen on one of the notorious Hamilton`s Folly jumps. Craig reckons it then cost him some time, as the car became very nervous at high speed because the rear spoiler had lost its support. When we asked Craig about the pace of the rally he said. `It’s a big boys party now`.

The French driver Robert Consani emerged from his Peugeot at the regroup and he said. `This is completely crazy, the jumps, it is very difficult for us. But the car, the tyre, is perfect`. Josh Moffett`s Lancer suffered a broken rear brake pipe on a jump and he lost quite a few seconds. Robert Barrable felt he backed off a bit too much on the jumps. Neil Simpson had an excursion into a farmyard in stage 3, his co driver Claire Mole joked. `We thought we would call for a pint of milk!` Chris Ingram has set a marvellous pace so far and did lead class R2 in his Peugeot. He survived a major moment in stage 2 when his car scraped a bank and he said of stage 3. `The car seemed to be in the 25 per cent of the time`. Aaron McHale`s Lancer has reportedly stopped in stage 3.

In the National category Garry Jennings moved into the lead on stage 2, getting ahead of Donagh Kelly. Donagh reckoned he misjudged the jumps slightly in stage 3. Declan Boyle turned down the engine management system on his Subaru before the start and reckons he turned it down too much. The Tarmac Championship points leader also felt that he had picked too hard a compound tyre and the car was sliding about. That situation was not helped as he reduced the drop gear on the car to give it less aggression on the slow corners, but better on the fast stuff. Declan Gallagher is having another great run in his Starlet to lead cl.12 and is 9th o/a. Stephen McCann lost some time when his intercom stopped working. Both Derek McGarrity and Alan Carmichael are having a worry over clutch slip on their respective Mini WRCs. Following a conservative start Eugene Donnelly has upped his pace as he becomes accustomed to driving the Mini WRC for the first time on dry roads.
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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