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McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages: News after SS2

McGarrity in service

The rain started pounding the track here at Bishopscourt Race Circuit just in time for the start of stage two of the McGrady Insurance Stages. Most of the top 20 reported incidents and Peadar Hurson, who was second overall, incurred a stage maximum after he completed just one lap instead of two.

“She did two 360 spins on us,” an exasperated Hurson said at the stage finish. “I don’t know what happened. It felt like we had a puncture or something.”

There was no such trouble for rally leader McGarrity although he lost around five seconds when he caught another competitor who spun in front of him. His lead now stands at 22.8 seconds from Mark Massey.

“Fintan McGrady spun in front of us and we have a misted up windscreen,” McGarrity reported.

Second placed Massey was also off the road and lost a few seconds when he went ‘grasstracking’. Connor McCloskey, who is now up to third overall, was also left exasperated when he went off the road on the treacherously wet straight part of the track.

“We went over the top of some trackside tyres a couple of times,” McCloskey reported. “It’s treacherous.”

Meanwhile, Kenny McKinstry reported that his Subaru was “aquaplaning everywhere” but he was more concerned about the lack of time he had to prepare to start the stage.

“The timecard was given back to us but we couldn’t read what our start time was,” he explained. “It turned out we had about two seconds to go. I didn’t have anti-lag on or anything!”

Wesley Patterson spun his Escort on the back straight and event sponsor Fintan McGrady, who was only a couple of seconds shy of the two-wheel-drive category lead, lost a lot of time when he spun and became stuck on the grass.

“We just couldn’t get off the grass,” a dejected McGrady said. “The wheels kept spinning.”

David Armstong reported having “two or three” 360 degree spins while two-times N.I. Champion Denis Biggerstaff survived a big sixth gear spin.

George Robinson was one of the few who didn’t spin but he has a worrying vibration coming from his newly built Fiesta.

Alan Smyth (Car 40) was frustrated after losing time behind a car on his first lap and his second lap. He said: “They wouldn’t pull over. It’s ridiculous!”

Kyle White was surprised to learn that he had set fastest time on stage one despite his car troubles. He has since found some broken wires at the back of his dash so his service crew are going to attempt to fix it and get his Peugeot 208 R2 back to full health.

Andrew McCormick reported seeing Alastair Cochrane off the track and in the tyre wall but Cochrane has since been able to complete the stage. Brian McFall has fixed his throttle problem and is a lot happier now.

James Laverty (Impreza) and Jonny Morrow (Evo) were among very few drivers who reported no spins or major time loss during that treacherous second stage. As a result, both are now in the top six overall.

The rain has now eased and all crews are back in service preparing for stage three.

More news later!

After SS2: Top 6
(Live results available from www.rallyscore.net.)

1. Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson (Impreza WRC)
2. Mark Massey/Niall Burns (Impreza WRC) +22.8s
3. Connor McCloskey/John Rowan (Fiesta WRC) +23.8s
4. James Laverty/Paul Hughes (Impreza GpN) +26.0s
5. Alan Smyth/Mac Kierans (Evo X) +30.0s
6. Jonny Morrow/Frazer Mulholland (Evo 9) 30.7s

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