DARREN Gass was the class of the field in Saturday’s Orchard Motorsport Lurgan Park Rally, where the young Markethill driver took his Subaru WRC to a convincing win over ‘Park Master’ Kenny McKinstry (Subaru WRC).
At he conclusion of eight special stages Gass, at the wheel of his Subaru WRC, had a winning margin of just over 18 seconds - a huge gap considering the nature of the event with its short, sprint-like stages.
Gass was delighted as he crossed the finish line to repeat his success of last year.
With Gass pulling away from McKinstry the attention was very much on the battle for third place and it looked good all day for Fermanagh’s Gary Jennings in his Mitsubishi, but always in his shadow was former British Rallycross Champion Denis Biggerstaff and going into the last stage the Kinallen driver pulled out all the stops with his Subaru WRC to beat the Jennings Mitsubishi by a fraction of a second.
“All day long Gary just seemed to have that little more pace and I thought I would have to settle for fourth, but it all came right in the end,” said Biggerstaff.
There was consolation for Jennings as he was the best of the Group N cars with Toyota drivers Mark Doyle and Derek McGeehan rounding off the top six.
In the Escort Challenge there were no surprises as victory went the way of Wesley Patterson and in the Historic section it was Keith McIvor at the wheel of a Porsche 911 who took the honours.
Sebastien Loeb, the reigning World Rally Champion, took his second Rally Finland victory of his career and with it increased his lead in the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship.
Petter Solberg and his Ulster co-driver Chris Patterson finished fifth in their privately entered Citroen.
There was luck for Kris Meeke and his Spanish team-mate Dani Sordo, who both retired in their works Minis.
Meeke went out on stage 19 while Sordo was withdrawn after stage 21 following the onset of a technical problem.