McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship

SS4: McGarrity Maintains Control, Big Battle for 2WD!

SS4: Derek and Mark McGeehan are back on the move. After their stage three dramas that saw them lose 10 seconds to rally leader Derek McGarrity, the McGeehans swiped four seconds out of their rivals on stage four, leaving 11 seconds between the two crews with two stages remaining.

However, 11 seconds is difficult to find in two stages so McGarrity and navigator Damien Garvey are looking pretty settled in their ex-Damian Cole Ford Fiesta WRC. They were reasonably happy at the end of the stage, only commenting about a few errant trackside tyres.

“There’s a clown hitting tyres all over the place!” McGarrity said. “I had to go around a few of them.”

Second placed McGeehan had to drive around the same tyres while third placed Gareth Sayers and Gareth Gilchrist are coming under a bit of pressure from Kevin Kelleher and Martin Brady who are up to fourth.

Now that the stage is drying up, there’s a bit more grip out there and fifth placed Kieron Graffin reckons he could start to struggle against the more powerful World Rally Car crews.

“I could do with a bigger restrictor to try to keep up,” Graffin said, “but if I can stay in front of the R5 category, then I’ll be happy with that.”

Both Emma McKinstry and Jason Mitchell reported clean runs during the stage, with McKinstry sixth despite her earlier spins. Meanwhile, Mitchell is back inside the top 10 – in ninth overall – after his earlier boost pipe problems. George Robinson also had his first clean stage and is 15th overall.

Sadly, Chris McGurk has been forced to retire his Fiesta due to gearbox problems and further down the field, Robert Erwin (pictured) and his mechanic are ‘flat out’ trying to change the gearbox in their Toyota Corolla.

Joe McQuillan was 17 seconds faster compared to his run through the previous stage while Andy Bustard was slowed by another car during the stage. They eventually managed to get past them.

The two-wheel-drive battle is really beginning to heat up. While Niall Carey lost time with a couple of minor incidents, Jamie Grant is now out in front by 1.2s ahead of Jonny Morrow.

Drew Stewart is just one-tenth of a second further behind while James and Heather Kennedy are another three seconds adrift but are really putting the pressure on after their stage three dramas. They were fastest among the 2WD crews by almost two seconds so the last two stages could be interesting!

“There’s a bit of a battle on!” Kennedy smiled at the stage finish.

Crews will now enjoy a short lunch break before tackling the final two stages. Latest results are available from bit.ly/bishopscourt2020.

Jonathan

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