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SS9: Drama at final service – steam from Samsonas’ BMW!

SS9: There’s drama at final service as rally leader Martynas Samonas has arrived with steam billowing from his engine bay! His mechanics pounced on the car to discover oil being blown out of the top of the engine.

However, all may not be lost. They seem to have discovered a blocked oil breather pipe and are busy replacing it in the hope it will let him complete the final stage!

There was drama out on the stages too. As reported earlier, Connor McCloskey has been forced to withdraw on safety grounds when his wipers failed to work for the rain-soaked stage eight.

Sadly, Patrick O’Brien has also been forced to retire after a stunning drive on what was his first time in an R5 car. His turbo expired during that loop, dropping him out of second overall.

And Donall Sweeney rolled his Evo out of the rally. Both crew members are OK.

Niall McCullagh found parts of the stages a bit slippery and shiny after the rain while Derek McGeehan was left rueing a spin as he battled with Stephen Wright and Derek McGarrity for vital points.

“We were lucky to get away with it,” McGeehan said. “We must have lost around 11 or 12 seconds – we threw away too much time.”

Derek McGarrity is short-shifting his Fiesta in an attempt to avoid his misfire issues.

“If I short-shift, then it only really affects us when we’re flat out in fifth and sixth gear,” he revealed.

Stephen Wright will benefit from their troubles a d he seemed perfectly calm and relaxed.

Crews are still arriving at service and the stage times are still coming in. For the latest positions, log on to rallyscore.net.

There’s one more stage before the winners are crowned at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh.

Update: Martynas Samsonas’ crew are putting fuel in the car – things are looking good!

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