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McGrady Insurance Bishopscourt Stages: News after SS3

Colin Price pushed his car back into service after SS3.

The rain eased off in time for the start of stage three and most crews were much happier with their performance. Rally leaders, Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson, reported another good run in their Impreza WRC. They extended their lead to 33 seconds over Mark Massey and Niall Burns who will need a small miracle if they are to overcome the leaders.

Second placed Massey reported having more grip on the stage and that helped him fend off third placed Connor McCloskey/John Rowan, who are breathing down his neck. Only 1.6 seconds separate the two crews with three stages remaining.

Alan Carmichael and Ivor Lamont have moved up to fourth overall in their Mini WRC despite reporting a misfire. James Laverty and Paul Hughes have dropped to fifth in their Group N Subaru and a drying track may not work to their advantage in the lesser-powered car.

Sixth placed Alan Smyth and Mac Kierans look set to pounce on Laverty. The class eight Evo X crew took a handful of seconds out of their rivals through the third stage, leaving them just four-tenths of a second adrift.

In the two-wheel-drive category, Barry Morris and Declan Campbell are the leading lights in their Escort. They hold eighth overall and are the only 2WD crew sitting inside the top 10. Kyle White and Sean Topping are their nearest rivals but they are 15 seconds adrift and although they have now fixed their earlier dash problems, they are struggling with tyre choice.

“We’re running with slick tyres on the front as we don’t have any wets with us,” Kyle explained. “It’s real clubman motorsport!”

Denis Biggerstaff and Stephen Jess were a bit happier with their tyres this time after putting more cuts in them while Fintan McGrady is still a bit despondent after his earlier spin. Gary Rodgers and Brian Crawford (Car 15) caught another competitor and dropped some time.

Amy Cox was full of smiles at the finish, commenting that it’s still slippery in places. Meanwhile, John Devlin was happier now that he had some brand new Hoosier tyres fitted to his Escort.

Johno Doogan has spun on “every stage so far” while Alastir Cochrane finished the stage with his exhaust hanging off his Escort. Philip Wylie reported a spin on the concrete section of the stage which he didn’t expect as he “thought there was more grip there.”

Denis Patterson (Car 71) has lost time with a few spins today as well as a misted up windscreen and Colin Price was forced to push his Corsa into the service area. Meanwhile, Gareth Nevin (Car 56) struggled as he lost his power-steering…but laughed when he was told that he was in good company as World Championship driver, Thierry Neuville, had the same issue in Rally Mexico yesterday!

Stage four is about to get underway…and the rain has started!

After SS3: Top 6 (Provisional – stage still live)

1 Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson (Impreza WRC)
2 Mark Massey/Niall Burns (Impreza WRC) +33.1s
3 Connor McCloskey/John Rowan (Fiesta WRC) +34.7s
4 Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Mini WRC) +37.8s
5 James Laverty/Paul Hughes (Impreza) +38.9s
6 Alan Smyth/Mac Kierans (Evo X) +39.3s

Live results available from www.rallyscore.net.

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