McGrady Insurance

McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship

SS2: McGeehans lead by three-tenths from Stephen Wright

SS2: The rain stopped in time for the start of stage two but it was still very wet and slippery around the circuit. Rally leaders, Derek and Mark McGeehan, lost a bit of time after Derek reckoned he picked up a puncture.

“We hit a bad rut in the concrete section and there was a bit of a vibration so I thought we had a puncture. I backed off so we lost a bit of time.”

They still lead the event but reigning champion, Stephen Wright, has closed the gap to just three-tenths of a second.

“I’m not really sure how well we did in that one,” Wright said at the stage finish. “The conditions are still treacherous but it was good fun.”

The McGeehans weren’t the only crew who encountered some drama as Philip Allen spun his Hyundai i20 R5 off the track. He thought he lost around 15 seconds as he scrabbled to find grip on the wet grass to get him back on the road.

He eventually finished the stage with grass poking out of his wheels (pictured) and some 20 seconds slower than the fastest time.

Also going for a spin were Emma McKinstry and Kenny Hull who had a similar incident to Allen and went sideways on the grass. They also dropped around 20 seconds to the leaders.

There was no such trouble for Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson as they become more accustomed with their Skoda in the wet. However, they still lost a couple of seconds to the rally leaders.

Kenny McKinstry managed to get his gearbox and wipers problems sorted so he was a happier man at the stage two finish. Alan Carmichael was also full of smiles and despite having to back off a little bit due to a shuddering centre-diff, he felt his pace was a lot better. It shows in the stage times too as he holds fourth overall.

Gareth Sayers found a lot more grip on the second test but that was thanks to his tyres being a bit cleaner…

“I washed the tyres with red diesel before the event but it felt like there was still some diesel on them during the first stage,” he admitted. “It was so slippy but stage two was class!”

Kieron Graffin had a bit of trouble at the start of the stage when he nosed into a bale at the first corner, forcing him to select reverse. Dominic McNeill’s windscreen misted up on the opening stage but he had a clean run through stage two.

In the two-wheel-drive category, Wesley Patterson says he isn’t worried about where he finishes today, he just wants to get around in one piece. James and Heather Kennedy continue to lead the category by 1.2 seconds from Keith White and Gavin Campbell.

There was a glimmer of sunshine for a while but now it’s starting to get dark again. It looks like the rain might return before the start of stage three…

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