Mcgar­rity rules Kirk­istown in Ford Fi­esta WRC

Newyear Stages

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Wil­liam Neill

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.

Mcgar­rity’s new Fi­esta WRC earned de­but vic­tory at Kirk­istown

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