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SS1: McGarrity Sets Pace, Wright in Trouble

Derek McGarrity set the pace over the opening stage here at Bishopscourt Race Circuit. The Glengormley driver has grabbed the lead of the McGrady Insurance Stages by 6.1 seconds in his Fiesta WRC after a slippery opening stage that saw him spin after the flying finish.

“I just lifted a gear too quick,” McGarrity explained, “but it was after the finish so we were OK.”

McGarrity has Sean Topping navigating today after regular co-driver, Paddy Robinson, celebrated a new arrival earlier this week. Baby Adam Robinson was born on Thursday. Congratulations Paddy!

Current championship leader, Stephen Wright, is already in trouble here at Bishopscourt. He reckons his Fiesta has some differential trouble and he struggled in the slippery conditions.

“We went on much too soft a tyre and I think we have some diff issues as well so it’s not very good,” Wright said. “I wasn’t driving well either which didn’t help.”

Wright is fifth overall while Derek and Mark McGeehan are second in their Mini WRC. “It’s definitely slippy around the concrete,” McGeehan commented at the stage finish.

Mark Massey has Eathan McColgan navigating today and they bedded in well together with a clean run through the stage to set third fastest time. Massey’s Fiesta is going well after he fixed the misfire that plagued him at Kirkistown two weeks ago.

Kenny McKinstry reported a good run but very slippy while Stuart Biggerstaff almost missed his start time as he was busy changing settings in the car before the start. He said he was very rusty but was still full of smiles at the finish.

Both Kevin Barrett and Martin Cairns reported being stuck behind another competitor for a lap while Nigel Feeney had a steady start as he didn’t get much time to look around the stage this morning.

James Kennedy was in a bit of trouble with a broken throttle pedal so John Devlin took advantage to set the early pace in the 2WD category while Fintan McGrady admitted to taking it easy after his Kirkistown mishap.

Former champion, Jonny Greer, is also competing in the category today with a Toyota GT86 and he echoed everyone else’s thoughts on the slippery stage. Drew Stewart made a few small mistakes and reckoned he was a bit rusty.

Paul Barrett revealed he caught another competitor in the slippery sections but he didn’t lose too much time and went on to set fourth fastest time.

James Leckey finished the stage with damage to both sides of his front bumper. “We had a couple of little mistakes,” he revealed, “but we didn’t lose too much time.”

Jonny Morrow said he had a “disaster” after being caught behind another competitor and stopped concentrating on the road ahead. Gary Rodgers is happier now that he’s ironed out the issues that he had at Kirkistown with his Evo.

Colm McFall had a spin and “did a bit of grasstracking” while Brian McFall was another driver happier with hi car’s handling. He discovered after Kirkistown that he had been running with a broken anti-roll bar.

Further down the order, Dean McDowell arrived at the stage finish without his front bumper. We’ll try to find out what the story is…

Crews are now back in service. Stage two will be underway shortly. Results available from www.rallyscore.net.

Jonathan

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