After SS10: McCloskey on Verge of Victory, McGarrity vs Creighton for Second!

AFTER SS10: With four stages remaining, it looks as though Connor McCloskey is on course for securing the MJE Wheel Repair Tyrone Stages Rally victory while Derek McGarrity and William Creighton (pictured) are embroiled in a battle for second overall.

McCloskey is 21 seconds ahead of the chasing pack in his Fiesta and has consistently been the fastest driver on the stages. He has been fastest or equal fastest over nine stages so far, gradually edging ahead of the field.

“We just need to try and get through the next four stages,” McCloskey said as he eyes up potential victory.

Second placed Derek McGarrity and Paddy Robinson have been coming under increasing pressure from William Creighton and Liam Regan. Creighton took four seconds out of the new champion on stage eight but and with the stages reversed, he has gone faster again…

In his first event with the Citroen DS3 R5, the young gun set fastest time on stage nine and equalled the fastest time set on stage 10. As he becomes more comfortable in the car, he’s really starting to increase his speed and now holds equal second overall with Derek McGarrity who is struggling with rear differential and handbrake troubles.

In the two-wheel drive battle, leaders James and Heather Kennedy – who are fourth overall – have managed to get a little bit of breathing space after John Devlin and John McCarthy stalled their Escort.

“There were only five seconds between us before that loop but now he has taken another three seconds out of us,” Devlin said. “We stalled when we came off the loose surface and back onto the tarmac but other than that, we’re having a good run.”

Andrew Bustard was another driver who lost time with a spin, commenting that he was “lucky to get away with it”, and Cathal Rogers is taking his time to get back into the swing of things with his Evo 9.

Despite being down on power, Fintan and Cormac McGrady were at the top of the class seven tree after eight stages. However, Andrew White and Damian McCann were taking chunks out of their rival having lost a lot of time on stage one when they stalled on the start line. This is another tussle that could go down to the wire.

In Group N, James Laverty had a “wee bit of an overshoot coming off the gravel” in his Subaru on stage 10 but didn’t lose much time. Paul Britton also had a small overshoot while Josh McErlean and Aaron Johnston continue to lead the category in their borrowed Subaru.

Jonny Morrow likes the stages even more now that they’re being run in reverse while Alan Atcheson is another driver who suffered with a spin.

Martin Cairns arrived back into service earlier than planned. He had been troubled by a misfire through stage eight and his mechanics pounced on the car after the stage in an attempt to fix it. He headed back out to the next loop of stages but has decided to call it a day.

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