Mckinstry wins as Mcgar­rity’s bid for glory at Kirk­istown mis­fires

Kirk­istown Stages

Motor Sport News - - Rally Reports - By Wil­liam Neill Re­sults

Or­gan­iser: North Ar­magh Mo­tor Club Ltd When: Fe­bru­ary 13 Where: Kirk­istown Race Cir­cuit, County Down Cham­pi­onships: Mcgrady In­sur­ance MSA North­ern Ire­land Rally Cham­pi­onship and Ju­nior 1000 Rally Chal­lenge Ire­land Starters: 78 Stages: six

With a stage to go, old ri­vals Derek Mcgar­rity and Kenny Mckinstry were tied on times on Kirk­istown Stages, but a mis­fire put Mcgar­rity out and the lat­ter held on to win.

While Mcgar­rity has North­ern Ire­land cham­pi­onship am­bi­tions fol­low­ing a sixth ti­tle last year, Mckinstry ar­rived un­de­cided on his plans for the rest of 2016. But an early win could sway the choice for the Subaru Im­preza S14 driver, who last won his home se­ries in 2011 fol­low­ing two wins in the ’80s.

Mcgar­rity and Nigel Magee led af­ter the 4.6-mile SS1 by 1.3s – the big­gest gap on the tally be­tween them­selves and Mckinstry/aaron Faulkner un­til SS6. The ad­van­tage was re­duced to one se­cond af­ter the re­peat be­fore a shorter SS3, mea­sur­ing 4.1 miles, added a mere 0.1s to Mcgar­rity’s lead.

On SS4, Mckinstry re­sponded go­ing 2.2s quicker to move into a 1.1s lead and with the tests get­ting shorter again, down to 3.6 miles, it was a close call head­ing into the fi­nal set of stages. But the mis­fire ul­ti­mately de­cided the re­sult.

An­other to have won the cham­pi­onship in the past, Peadar Hur­son, com­pleted the cham­pi­ons’ podium in third along with co-driver Damien Con­nolly. Their Subaru Im­preza had re­mained in that po­si­tion through­out, 25s from match­ing win­ner Mckinstry.

De­spite some front dam­age to their car, Wes­ley Patterson and Adam Car­son were fourth and two-wheel-drive win­ners in a Ford Es­cort Mk2. The crew fin­ished SS1 in eighth and gained a place on the re­peat. But it was SS3 where they moved up three spots to their po­si­tion, one minute off the podium.

The rally win­ner’s daugh­ter, Emma Mckinstry, fin­ished fifth in a Wrc-spec Im­preza. She lost the place to both Matthew Mcgaf­fin and Ge­orge Robin­son on SS3 but gained it back on SS4 to be placed seven sec­onds from Patterson. Mcgaf­fin was sixth and Robin­son sev­enth.

Ju­nior win­ners Josh and Tommy Mcer­lean have two max­i­mum point scores in 2016. This time they beat Ruairi Bell.

Mckinstry: vic­to­ri­ous

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