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RALLY NEWS No.5 - After SS7 - Monday @ 16:46:09

RALLY NEWS NO.5 TT Grandstand/Friday/Noon

1st (4) Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Impreza N) 40.56.9
2nd (3) Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Lancer N) 41.39.9
3rd (1) Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Impreza WRC) 42.01.2
4th (5) David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (Impreza N) 42.28.6
5th (6) Phillip Morrow/Daniel Barritt (Lancer N) 43.15.9
6th (10) James Wozencroft/Chris Ridge (Impreza N) 43.35.8
7th (9) Darren Gass/Neil Shanks (Lancer N) 44.12.9
8th (18) Brian O'Mahony/John Higgins (Clio S1600) 44.38.8
9th (17) Guy Woodcock/John Skinner (Escort Maxi) 44.42.9
10th (15) John McGlaughlin/Damien Connolly (Lancer N) 44.49.4

In stage 6 Eamonn Boland managed a fastest time despite being on dry weather tyres on the wet roads and then in stage 7 it was Mark Higgins who topped the time sheets. In Tesco 99 Octane British Rally Championship terms the most relevant factor was that Mark Higgins was faster than Guy Wilks through all 3 of this morning’s stages. While championship leader David Higgins has been content to tuck in behind these two and concentrate on the long term. Mark said at service in control. “Very pleased with that, everything went well”. Guy Wilks on the other hand commented. “Not great and got bogged down on the very tight hairpin right on that last stage”. Eamonn Boland reported no problems at all despite running on those slick tyres this morning, he is now thinking very much of the Global Group Tarmac Championship and getting the points he needs to clinch the title.

David Higgins said. “We weren’t so good on the fast wide roads where we were getting under steer. On the tighter twisty stuff the car is very good. The car is getting better all the time and there’s good stuff in the pipeline, we’ll concentrate on gaining points”. Phillip Morrow softened the suspension of his Lancer a little and was a lot happier over the last couple of stages, he feels his confidence is growing and he is getting more feel from the car. James Wozencroft is also having a good run this morning despite struggling with his notes a little on the wide roads. Darren Gass in 7th place said he is taking it very cautiously and is under orders to get the car to the finish. Brian O’Mahony reckoned he had driven like an old granny through stage 6 but still held on to his 8th place, just ahead of Guy Woodcock.

John McGlaughlin in 10th reported a huge overshoot in stage 6 and then nearly reversed into a marshal’s car! Adam Gould damaged the brake lines on his Clio when he slid off the road in stage 5 and he has lost some time in stages 6 and 7 as he struggled with no brakes. Nigel Cannell is also losing time, his Corsa suffering from gearbox troubles. Rob Swann’s Impreza is reportedly stopped on the road section following stage 7. Marty McCormack has had to pull his Citroen C2R2 out following further mechanical problems and hopes to rejoin under Super Rally rules. Jason Pritchard continues to lead the Citroen C2R2 Cup contenders and Ross Forde the Suzuki Cup runners.

Looking back to last night – Gordon Nichol crashed his Suzuki off the road in stage 4. Martin Laverty’s C2R2 lost time with a broken engine mounting and then because the engine was jumping about it damaged the radiator, happily still going. Martin Roberts had trouble with the ECU in his C2R2 but managed to keep going. Galway man Phillip Connelly reported his Civic to be well down on power seemed to be off a cylinder. Swedish driver Andreas Sjolander has moved into the lead of class R2 in his Fiesta and said of this morning’s run “perfect”. He is now 12th o/a just behind Jonny Greer and ahead of Kevin Kelleher.

In the Historic Rally Jimmy McRae led overnight in his Porsche, lost the lead in stage 5 and has regained it after stage 6. Richard Hill is into 2nd. David Stokes is 3rd. Steve Smith 4th. Derek Boyd has dropped back to 5th and Ian Corkhill has also dropped back and is 6th in his Escort. Steve Smith broke a half shaft on his Sunbeam Tiger about an hour before the start and his mechanics did a fabulous job cobbling up a replacement shaft and making a keyway out of tool grade steel.

More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON


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