Mcgarrity rules Kirkistown in Ford Fiesta WRC
Organiser: 500 Motor Racing Club of Ireland When: January 23 Where: Kirkistown Race Circuit, County Down Championship: Junior 1000 Rally Challenge Ireland Starters: 39 Stages: 6
On the debut of his DMACKliveried Ford Fiesta RS WRC, Derek Mcgarrity won the New Year Stages at Kirkistown by 13s after leader Kenny Mckinstry suffered bad luck and exited with a broken driveshaft.
A win at the Icebreaker earlier this month gave Subaru Imprezaman Mckinstry added stimulus when it came to SS5 – with added gravel – but it was here where it all went wrong for him.
Mckinstry, after dropping back on SS4, retired when his Impreza failed him and Mcgarrity/kieron Graffin inherited the lead.
But it wasn’t a foregone conclusion from there; Desi Henry was testing his Skoda Fabia R5 for both British and Irish championships with Liam Moynihan. The pair was ahead of Mcgarrity heading to SS5, but lost time catching a car. With a single stage remaining Mcgarrity was on top by 11.4s and managed to hold on by 13.1s at the finish.
Almost a minute back, Kyle White was preparing for the Northern Ireland championship, which will stage round one at the venue next month. The former kart racer said he would go for it with two stages remaining after a consistent run.
He did, and secured a hard contested third place and was first two-wheel drive in his Citroen C2R2. The Belfast man revealed he would contest selected BRC rounds if budget allows.
George Robinson and Tommy Speers are no strangers to Kirkistown and, with a Mitsubishi Lancer E9, took 2.1s from White on the closing stage but it was not enough with a gap.
Also in the podium hunt in a Skoda Fabia S2000 was Alan Atcheson.
It was his first competitive fourwheel-drive outing after a small pre-event test. Despite a minor spin he finished fifth with Thomas Wedlock in the co-driver’s seat.
Following two non-finishes at the back end of 2015, Matthew Mcgaffin rebounded to finish sixth and win Group N, co-driven by Sheena Buckley, in a Mitsubishi Lancer E9.
While the pair kept Niall Henry and John Rowan behind, the stage times remained close with two going Henry’s way. The gap was 3.8s.
Irish Tarmac entrant Stephen Wright was due to battle Desi Henry’s fellow ITRC R5, but the duel never reached a climax as a turbo fitting came adrift on Wright’s Fiesta R5 and he was out.
Josh Mcerlean and Thomas Mcerlean won the Junior fight by 35.2s from Peter Bennett.
Results 1 Derek Mcgarrity/ Kieron Graffin (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) 28m38s; 2 Desi Henry/ Liam Moynihan (Skoda Fabia R5) +13s; 3 Kyle White/ Sean Topping (Citroen C2R2); 4 George Robinson/tommy Speers (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); 5 Alan Atcheson/thomas Wedlock (Skoda Fabia S2000); 6 Matthew Mcgaffin/ Sheena Buckley (Mitsubishi Lancer E9); 7 Niall Henry/john Rowan (Mitsubishi Lancer E10); 8 Alan Smyth/ Mac Kierans (Suzuki Swift); 9 William Creighton/ Liam Regan (Peugeot 208 R2); 10 Barry Morris/ Denver Rafferty (Ford Escort Mk2). Class winners Josh Mcerlean/thomas Mcerlean (Peugeot 107); Ian Dickson/ashley Dickson (Fiesta ST); Mcgaffin/ Buckley; Ronnie Mcconnell/ Rachel Mcconnell (Nissan Micra); Alexander Cochrane/ Harry Johnston (Escort Mk2); White/topping; William Mcclurkin/anthony Mccann (Escort Mk2); Morris/ Rafferty; Andy Johnson/jim Mcsherry (Vauxhall Chevette); Mcgarrity/ Graffin.