McGrady Insurance

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SS2: Wright Struggles while McGarrity Leads and Britton’s Hopes Go Up in Smoke

Derek McGarrity and Sean Topping increased their lead after a drama-free run through the second stage to leave their advantage at 8.6 seconds after two stages. Derek and Mark McGeehan were pleased with their second fastest time and were just 2.5 seconds behind McGarrity through the test.

However, the drama came after the leading crews finished the stage as the Subaru belonging to Paul Britton and George Tinsley caught fire at the stage finish. A mad panic ensued to find enough fire extinguishers to put the fire out with marshals, the rescue crew and other competitors all rushing to their aid. Thankfully, the car was saved but the crew are out of the rally.

Back near the top of the leaderboard, championship leader Stephen Wright might be out of the rally. His car is running in front-wheel drive and the Monaghan man isn’t sure if he can get it fixed in service.

“We’re stuck in front-wheel drive,” he said. “That was the problem on the first stage and was a bigger problem on that stage. It’s not enjoyable to drive. I can’t get traction on the front coming out of corners and then when you try to brake, she tries to spin.”

“We’re going to see if we can get it fixed but I’d say we probably won’t be able to,” he added. “If we can’t fix her, we’ll put out as it’s only working the car too hard.”

Paul Barrett and Mo Downey have moved up to third overall in their Fiesta R5 ahead of Mark Massey, despite having a moment during the stage which damaged their front bumper.

“It happened at a square left on the concrete section,” Barrett revealed. “I turned in and she just went sideways on me.”

Kenny McKinstry is fifth ahead of the struggling Wright while Stuart Biggerstaff and Garth Neill were another crew in the wars. They finished the stage with a chunk missing from the corner of their front bumper but still hold seventh overall.

“We spun,” an annoyed Biggerstaff revealed. “We put slicks on and in the first concrete section, everything was working fine. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary but just as we came out of the hairpin right, the car spun. It happened that quick it felt as if the back wheel had come off!”

Kevin Barrett is enjoying himself in eighth while ninth-placed Nigel Feeney reckons he should have switched to slick tyres for the stage. He was still running wets.

In 2WD, James Kennedy was happier now that he had removed the broken part of his accelerator pedal. He has moved to the head of the category while early leader, John Devlin, is now second after a steady run.

Fintan McGrady commented that he “managed to break a sweat that time” as he started to push a bit harder. Jonny Greer is acclimatising to both rear-wheel drive and right-hand drive in the Toyota GT86.

“It’s a bit different to what we’re used to,” Greer said, “but I’m learning and I’m really enjoying it.”

Alastair Cochrane’s Escort developed a misfire halfway through the final lap and Johno Doogan lost around 10 seconds with a spin. Kyle White is querying his stage time for the opening test – he reckons he was 30 seconds quicker than the time awarded.

Further down the order, Barry Meeke and Marc Nugent are in action with their Toyota Corolla. Barry’s brother, Kris, obviously drew the short straw this weekend as he had to go to Mexico to compete in a rally while Barry is able to sample the joys of the McGrady Insurance Stages!

However, it hasn’t been all plain sailing for Barry. He was behind another competitor on lap one and reportedly followed the lap two route near the end of his opening lap. He quickly realised his mistake and hopped over the tyres to get back on track but has been awarded a penalty as a result.

Jonny Morrow said ‘the stage is brilliant’ but was slowed by two different competitors during the second test while Brian McFall had fluid pouring from the front of his Evo X at the stage finish but he didn’t appear to be overly concerned.

Stage three gets underway shortly after midday. Log on to rallyscore.net for the latest results!

Jonathan

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