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Townparks Glens of Antrim
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Pre start - Saturday @ 08:37:36

RALLY NEWS NO.1 Saturday morning/Early

Today’s Townparks Stages Rally through the Glens of Antrim has certainly got an interest packed entry with last year’s winner Derek McGarrity, this time driving a Derek McGeehan Corolla WRC, heading the 62 cars out from Loughguile for the first of the twelve forest stages. Derek was planning to drive a Focus WRC today, but decided to change to the Corolla earlier this week. He reckons the wee Toyota should have the speed and the handling over the serious Slieveanorra jumps to secure victory.

Indeed, although McGarrity would appear to have the NI Championship won, even before starting this final round, because the points are still in rather a state of flux, he is keen to take the win today, which put the matter beyond all doubt! For most of the 9 rounds of the series so far, McGarrity and Kenny McKinstry, as well as Sean Devine, but he only made two appearances, have been the dominant drivers. As McKinstry gave his Impreza WRC S9 (S30WRT) a quick check over before the start, he commented, “I can’t wait to get at the rally today. OK, McGarrity may have more experience of these stages but I’ll do everything I can to win. The car is good. My only worry is that I hurt my back during the week, when I was cutting a slice of Swiss roll would you believe! It felt like the knife was going into my back!”

Starting at numbers 3 & 4 are Alastair Fisher and Jonny Greer in their respective Evo 9’s. These two young drivers are on a warm-up exercise for the Rally of Scotland in two weeks, the final round of this season’s IRC. Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan were to be at 5, but Donagh’s Uncle Charlie died earlier this week and Donagh will be at the funeral in Letterkenny today.

Donagh has had a great run all season in his KN Network Services Lancer, and indeed seemed to have GpN in the championship won. However, with the present uncertainty existing over marshalling points, the likely destiny of the GpN title is unclear. Fermanagh man Raymond Johnston, who starts at 6 today, is in with a shout, as is former Champion GpN champion Neil McCance. Neil is running at No.7 today.

Speaking to Donagh earlier this week, when he knew he would be non-starting today, he said, “I’ve enjoyed the Championship but feel a bit sorry for the various clubs getting dragged into this points business.”

Donegal man Damien Tourish, hoping for some reliability from his Lancer’s engine, starts at 8. Kieron Graffin is at 9 in a GpA type Lancer and Colin Britton in his Lancer is at 10. John McKeown is at 11 and is driving the Escort WRC that belonged to his brother in law. John remarked. “It is like driving a different car compared to mine”. Trevor Moore, Seamus O’Connell and Philip Hunter at 12, 14 & 15 are the top two wheel drive Escort men.

Some changes to the entry, besides Donagh Kelly non-starting, include Kirsty Riddick co-driving for Jonny Greer and Vincent Fergus is on the notes for Kieron Graffin. Francis Kenny was to co-drive Dominic McNeill, but Francis’ lovely young daughter Adrienne is going into hospital unexpectedly for surgery. We wish Adrienne a quick recovery. Francis Regan will now co-drive for Dominic. Ian McErlain in his Lancer plus Davy Johnston in the big Nemesis and Frank Kelly in his usual Escort today are performing OO duties. Frank is testing new front suspension today.

More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net

2018 Patterson Agencies

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