Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson secured a dominating win at the Modern Tyres Mourne Rally, round three of the McGrady Insurance MSA Northern Ireland Rally Championship!
The Subaru Impreza WRC mounted crew led the Newry & District Motor Club event from start to finish, eventually winning by more than one minute.
As the only World Rally Car powered crew entered in the rally, McGarrity had little comparable opposition but the tricky Gullion stages still proved to be a demanding test of man and machine.
“Our plan today was to get points, stay out of trouble, not mark the car, and that’s exactly what we did,” McGarrity said at the Mourne Country Hotel finish.
“It would have been nice to have had a bit more competition.
“The guys in the Escorts drive very fast but it’s not ideal to race them with a World Rally Car. But we had a job to do and that’s what we did.”
Coming home in second position, Damian Toner and Denver Rafferty sealed the top two-wheel-drive award in the process. In the end, they enjoyed a fairly comfortable advantage over the rest of the pack after a trouble-free day rallying through some scenic stages.
“They were tricky stages,” Toner admitted, “but we had great weather and we really enjoyed it.
“It was a very good day and we’re happy to be top two-wheel-drive.”
The battle for third overall between David Armstrong and Camillus Bradley went right down to the wire. Bradley lost time early in the event when a pipe came adrift on the second stage, leaving him with a worryingly noisy engine but, more importantly, he was down on power too.
Initially, he believed his manifold had broken but it transpired to be a problem that he was able to fix in service.
“It happened at the first corner of stage two,” he explained. “I thought the engine had blown.
“She just lost power and I slowed down.
“When we got to service, we discovered we had lost a spring and a pipe had completely come adrift so it was an easy enough fix,” he added.