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RALLY NEWS No.1 - Service - Saturday @ 09:50:00

Rally News No.1 Loughry College/Saturday 10.00am

This 4th round of the 2017 McGrady Insurance NI Rally Championship has attracted a scintillating entry. Around 100 crews have entered for this McNulty Motors backed Tyrone Stages Rally, in cars ranging from the mighty Subaru WRCs, through the latest R5 machinery, the best of Escorts and the nimble R2 Peugeot 208s of the likes of William Creighton and Kyle White.

Clerk of the Course Bob McKeown has picked three cracking short stages through the rolling countryside fornenst Stewartstown and they should provide, not just a real challenge, but a lot of enjoyment also for the competitors.

Between them, the top 2 seeds, Derek McGarrity and Kenny McKinstry, have 8 NI Rally Champion titles between them. Both are driving S14 Subaru World Rally Cars. McGarrity has just acquired this latest one, a beautiful ex Prodrive works car. Kenny McKinstry just loves driving these cars, full stop! Both drivers will however have to look to their laurels this weekend, as they face stiff competition from a plethora of drivers in more modern machinery. Peader Hurson for example, the winner of this rally two years ago, is driving a Fiesta WRC this weekend, and although he hasn’t competed for several months, Peader is always a driver to be reckoned with. Jonny Greer, Desi Henry and Marty McCormack are in ‘state of the art’ R5 cars (A Citroen and two Skodas). Phillip Allen, a real sharp ‘up and coming’ driver is in the McGeehan Mini WRC. (Alan Carmichael, currently 3rd in the NI points, was hoping to be in a Mini WRC, but the way it has worked out he will be in a Subaru). A former NI Champion, Robin Phillips, is seeded down at 25 and he also is in an Impreza WRC.

The top Escort exponents are Adrian Hetherington, Damian Toner and event sponsor Enda McNulty. Enda’s garage is just up the road, so he is on home territory! There are lots of great Escorts throughout the entry, including some very rapid Historic cars.

Just some points of interest concerning the top entries include:- Noel O’Sullivan is now co-driving for Derek McGarrity and, in a blast from the past Robbie Philpott is with Kenny McKinstry. Barney Mitchell is reading the notes with Marty McCormack, the latter’s Skoda beautifully re-shelled by Derek McGeehan in record time following Ypres. Eugene Donnelly is co-driving for Phillip Allen and Jim McSherry with Fintan McGrady. Stevie Whitford is non starting, nor is Geoff McMahon. Josh McErlean / Niall Burns are starting 28th on the road with the number 100 on their Citroen C2. Greg McCormack has switched to a S2000 Skoda and will run just outside the top ten.

More News Later Brian, Liz and Zoe Patterson www.rallynews.net *Follow RallyNews on Twitter & Facebook @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews

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