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RALLY NEWS No.10 - After SS17 - Monday @ 16:49:15

RALLY NEWS NO.10 End of stage 17/Saturday 10.45

1st (4) Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Impreza N)
2nd (1) Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Impreza WRC)
3rd (3) Guy Wilks/David Moynihan (Lancer N)
4th (5) David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (Impreza N)
5th (10) James Wozencroft/Chris Ridge (Impreza N)
6th (9) Darren Gass/Neil Shanks (Lancer N)
7th (18) Brian O'Mahony/John Higgins (Clio S1600)
8th (17) Guy Woodcock/John Skinner (Escort Maxi)
9th (12) Jonny Greer/Jonny Hart (Lancer N)
10th (16) Paul Curphey/Mark Perryman (Lancer N)

Guy Wilks is determined to make a race of this Isle of Man Rally right to the final flag and was fastest of the British Championship contenders through that opening stage this morning to move from 4th to 3rd ahead of British Championship points leader David Higgins. Eamonn Boland in his Subaru was fastest overall and it was Mark Higgins first on the road who arrived into the finish control on the edge of St. Johns village. Mark told us. “We were on a slick Pirelli and got rain towards the end of the stage. We were going sensibly hard.” Eamonn Boland was also on slick tyres but reported no problems. Eamonn’s time was 9m7s with Guy Wilks on 9m15s and Mark Higgins 9.16. David Higgins, by his own high standards, seemed just slightly off the pace and his time for the stage was 9m39s. David said. “It was hellish slippy in places”. Guy Wilks commented. “Yes it was tricky in the middle of the stage, a bit of a pain on cut slick tyres. We had an overshoot at a junction but it was OK”.

James Wozencroft was laughing at stage finish and said. “We had a massive slide in there, the car was so far gone I thought we were going to hit the bank”. Brian O’Mahony is still going very well in his Clio and leading class R3, the young Cork man commented. “That was a bit hairy for my liking. It certainly woke me up anyway!” Guy Woodcock in the Escort Maxi said he had a half spin, but the stage wasn’t too bad for him. Darren Gass turned in a respectable enough time, no problems. Unfortunately Swedish visitors Andreas Sjolander and his co driver Hakan Jacobsson have crashed their Fiesta heavily out of 10th place. Driver and co driver are reported to be OK. Also stopped in the stage is Luke Pinder’s Puma, reportedly struggling with a broken drive shaft. They may be able to coax the car out but it is a long stage, 11.34 miles, with some very narrow sections and they may decided not to impede any other crew’s progress. Sjolander’s accident happened at a left 2 tightens after Braaid crossroads where the road was very slippery with the onset of rain.

Jonny Greer holds on to his 9th position although for some reason he is now being shown with a 5 minute penalty which is not included in the above total and which wouldn’t really affect his position anyway. Manx man Paul Curphey now moves up to 10th in his Lancer, Paul reckons that once again he is on the wrong tyres. David Meredith is 11th and he said that he is trying 18 inch wheels now and with the different profile tyres the suspension is not set just right for them. John McGlaughlin holds on to 12th. He had a major worry on the last Friday stage when his Lancer had battery lead troubles. Happily that is now all sorted and despite 2 spins this morning the Cookstown man remains on course for a big haul of Group N Tarmac C/ship points. Phillip Morrow and Robert Swann are running in the Super Rally today, 15th and 16th on the road. Both got through the opening stage this morning with no problems. Phillip said. “Its just a matter of getting the car home”. His time was well off the pace of the leaders.

Jason Pritchard now leads class R2 and also the Citroen C2R2 Cup runners from Andrew Hockridge. Martin Laverty was 3rd in the CwR2s overnight and we are still waiting for his time from stage 17. Young Donegal man Martin O’Donnell has got over his delays early in the rally when he clipped a kerb and damaged a wheel and he is now 2nd in class R1 to Mark Gamble in the Suzuki. Martin’s main priority is to score Tarmac c/ship points and he is determined now to get his Civic to the finish with no heroics.

More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON


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