McGrady Insurance

McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship

SS1: McGarrity Dominates SS1 timesheets at Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages

After SS1: Reigning champion Derek McGarrity and navigator Kieron Graffin have blitzed the opposition on the opening stage of the Pacenotes Rally Magazine Stages, round one of the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK N.I. Rally Championship!

The Fiesta WRC mounted crew finished the test 8.5 seconds faster than their nearest rivals to move into a commanding lead after just one stage.

“The car felt a bit soft but we’ll stiffen it up for the next stage,” McGarrity commented at the stage finish.

Derek McGarrity
Derek McGarrity

Running a little bit further down the order after their late entry, Stephen Wright and Keith Rainey were second fastest in their Fiesta R5. Wright has limited experience of the venue so he was happy to use the opener to bed himself in.

Alan Carmichael was third fastest despite losing time when he caught another car on the stage. He admitted to using the event as a test session after struggling with a misfire at last weekend’s British Rally Championship round.

Fourth placed Derek McGeehan couldn’t understand how Derek McGarrity was nearly 12 seconds faster than his Mini WRC. He reckoned he could have been a few seconds quicker but the huge gap astonished the Draperstown driver.

In fifth position, Darren Gass caught Sean Devine on his second lap of the venue but otherwise had a steady run in his new Fabia. Meanwhile, Devine struggled with his Fiesta on the start line but still set 10th fastest time…

“Just some teething trouble,” Devine smiled. “Every time I switched on the anti-lag, the engine died.”

Mark Massey reported a steady run while Nigel Feeney enjoyed a steady opening stage on what is his first time at the venue.

The big battle between the S11 Subarus of Scotland’s Brian Watson and Carnlough’s Joe McQuillan got underway in earnest with McQuillan taking first blood despite a spin at the opening corner. Meanwhile, Watson struggled with no power steering and finished the stage with “arms like Popeye”.

In the two-wheel drive battle, Keith White had some intercom troubles with his Escort but was still happy at the stage finish and he appears to be quickest in the category so far. Reigning 2WD champions, James and Heather Kennedy, are breathing down his neck despite an overshoot during the test.

Kyle White had a “half spin” on the gravel section and championship sponsor Fintan McGrady was also in trouble. He clipped a tyre wall and damaged the front of his Escort, leaving him a bit despondent at the finish.

Fintan McGrady

Niall Branniff and Patrick McMullan have had a difficult start to their year. Suspected engine trouble on the opening stage meant they only completed one lap. It looks like they’re the first retirement of the day.

Live results are available from I’ll be back with more news after stage two!


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