McGrady Insurance

McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship – Official Website

After SS12: McCloskey Comfortable, Creighton on the Move!

AFTER SS12: With two stages remaining, Connor McCloskey and Noel O’Sullivan continue to control the rally from the front. They head the leaderboard by 18 seconds from William Creighton and Liam Regan, who have surged nine seconds clear of Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson.

Once again it was Creighton who set the fastest time over stage 11 and he equalled rally leader McCloskey on stage 12. Young gun Creighton managed to take nine seconds out of the struggling McGarrity in the process.

In the battle for two-wheel drive honours, James and Heather Kennedy extended their lead by another two seconds. They also hold fourth overall and rivals, John Devlin and John McCarthy, are now resigned to taking the runner-up position.

“We can’t beat them in the Championship,” Devlin admitted. “We needed to win the class and hope that someone else finished the rally between me and James so that’s the fight over.”

Championship sponsor, Fintan McGrady, is looking good in his quest for class seven spoils.

“I kept her lit as much as I could!” McGrady said. “Hopefully, it’ll be enough.”

Running just outside the top 10 despite a down on power engine, McGrady has so far managed to hold off the challenge from Andrew White and Damian McCann who were last overall after stage one when they stalled on the start line.

“We’ve had a sixth fastest overall time so I’m really pleased with that!” a delighted White said at final service.

In Group N, Josh McErlean looks set to seal the win on his four-wheel drive debut while fellow class contender, Chris McGurk (pictured), has retired with clutch trouble.

Jamie Grant had a couple of arguments with the chicanes while Michael McGarrity hit the front of his Citroen on stage 11 and lost around 10 seconds. Latest retirements include Philip Greenlee who lost second gear on stage 12.

“We came out of the last corner on stage 12 and there was a thud,” Greenlee explained. “I think the cog for second gear is broken so I have to call it a day before I wreck the gearbox.”

Further down the order, class four’s Dermot O’Hagan was a little bit frustrated. He had been leading the class in his Honda Civic after the first leg but when the stages were reversed, he started to lose time.

“The stages don’t suit us as well in this direction,” he admitted. “It’s hard to get power down at the uphill chicanes.”

With two stages remaining, few crews will be taking risks over the closing miles.

Results are available from www.rallyscore.net.

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