The third round of the 2015 MSA ANICC McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship took place on the Circuit of Ireland National Rally and this was the big one as the Nationals ran behind the European Championship’s finest, with many of the National crews proving capable of matching times with Europe’s best.
Irish Tarmac series contender Declan Boyle was the pace-setter in his S11 Impreza WRC, stretching out a 1 minute 16 second lead over Derek McGarrity before his engine blew up on stage ten.
Even after the first day’s six stages McGarrity had over a minute and a half’s advantage over Kenny McKinstry in a similar S14 Subaru, and that gap was extended to over two minutes at the finish, as the Glengormey driver took his third maximum score in the McGrady Insurance series.
“It was not an easy rally, conditions were tricky early on, and there was a lot of mud pulled out by the ERC cars cutting. Once Declan went out we had to manage that gap to Kenny, but it worked out well for us,” commented McGarrity.
Lisburn’s Wesley Patterson recovered from day one issues to take a fine third in his 2.5 Ford Escort, with Keith White in the MK1 Ford Escort fifth despite a noisy gearbox, and Frank Kelly who was re-gaining confidence after a crash in February.
While the spotlight was firmly on the FIA European Rally Championship the Circuit of Ireland Rally also staged the second round of the Carryduff Forklift R2 Wales competition.
Rob Duggan emerged the winner to move to the top of the drivers’ standings.He was consistently fast during both days of the event and rarely put a wheel wrong to take a convincing six minute-plus victory from the Citroen C2R2 belonging to Omagh’s Alan Smyth.