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Pirelli Rally 2008
RALLY NEWS No.3 - Friday/Service/Friday 10.50 pm - Tuesday @ 17:13:00
RALLY NEWS NO.3 Friday/Service/Friday 10.50 pm

1st (1) Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Lancer N) 29.30.8
2nd (3) Juho Hanninen/Mikko Markkula (Lancer N) 29.54.8
3rd (2) Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (MG S2000) 30.15.2
4th (4) David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (Impreza N) 30.38.3
5th (5) Patrik Flodin/Goran Bergsten (Impreza N) 30.53.8
6th (6) Phillip Morrow/Daniel Barrett (Lancer N) 31.00.6
7th (7) Stuart Jones/Andy Bull (MG S2000 31.30.7
8th (8) Eyvind Brynildsen/Maria Andersson (Lancer N) 32.02.3
9th (15) Jonny Greer/Jonny Hart (Lancer N) 32.03.1
10th (11) Wyn Humphreys/Rob Fagg (Impreza N) 32.32.0

British Champion Guy Wilks leads this Pirelli International Rally at the overnight halt by 24s from the Finn Juho Hanninen. It could have been a very different story as Guy Wilks reported a lurid slide into a ditch on one of the later stages. His co driver Phil Pugh reckons they lost perhaps 10s but the main thing was they were able to keep going. The slippy conditions made it difficult for all the drivers and Wilks was on a Pirelli K6 which wasn’t ideal for the muddy conditions but will probably be much better tomorrow. Juho Hanninen said of his run tonight. “We found it very demanding in these conditions in the dark, we need more practice on these roads. It is so difficult for us”.

Mark Higgins drove brilliantly in his new MG S2000 to recover from his earlier 20s road penalty even a broken gear stick in stage 3 not slowing Mark too much. As co driver Rory Kennedy commented. “We got the finger out!” Mark’s brother David said. “We didn’t get the gas discharge lights in time for the rally so our lights had no distance. There was also some knocking from the top suspension mounts but overall it was pretty good. The front damping felt too hard, I don’t knw whether it was the dampers were too hard or the springs were too soft”.

Phillip Morrow slipped a couple of places over the course of the evening. It is a big learning curve for the young Lisburn man and there were a couple of niggly little things needed sorted, but in overall terms he is very well placed for tomorrow’s 10 stage leg. Patrik Flodin in 5th place reported no recurrence of the smoke that was evident on the first stage, reckoned perhaps it was just the oil level too high. Patrik also said. “We were trying hard but the times aren’t there, maybe it is the older car”. Stuart Jones Is handily placed in 7th, the young Welshman said. “We got no mileage last season, my confidence was shot, I just wanted to get comfortable in the car tonight and get some mileage”.

Eyvind Brynildsen’s co driver Maria Carlsson said. “Tonight we were being careful, get to know the stages and each other”. Wyn Humphreys reported that on the 2nd stage they went over a crest and landed very hard, squashed an exhaust manifold, and the car lost power, otherwise OK.

Young Wicklow driver Danny Barry was slowed in stage 2 when his Lancer suffered a front right puncture. He then tried to make up time in stage 3, spun and got stuck between the ditch and a tree. He was a bit disappointed but is 13th overnight so not too bad. He is certainly not as disappointed as young Darren Gass, the Pirelli Star Driver, his new Lancer slid into the trees on a downhill 6 right, sounds like there was no real damage but the car is stuck. He may or may not get going to continue in the rally – but of course there is always the Super Rally.

Jonny Greer had a good run although he found it difficult in the dark, but had no real problems. Simon Jean-Joseph lost some time in stage 2 with a puncture and also had some difficulty with the lights on his new Citroen C2R2 Max. Simon is lying 14th overnight. Brian O’Mahony in his Clio lost time with no gear display, also had trouble with the lights and admitted to driving like his granny! But he is still a very good 12th o/a.

Time are starting to come in for the later runners and Nathan O’Connor seems to be leading the Citroen C2R2s from Andrew Hockridge with Martin Roberts 3rd. No times for Martine McCormack…..

More news in the morning: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net

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