SS3: McGarrity Leads, Gass Ups the Ante, Kyle White in Trouble

After SS3: It was business as usual for rally leader Derek McGarrity on stage three as he claimed his third fastest time on the trot but Darren Gass has really upped the ante as he completed the test just two-tenths of a second slower in his Skoda Fabia R5.

“It’s my first good run of the day,” Gass smiled. “No hold ups this time!”

The time has promoted the former Irish Tarmac Champion from sixth into third overall, a little over one second adrift of second placed Alan Carmichael and Samuel Hamill.

Carmichael reckoned he was slow in places but was pleasantly surprised with setting the third fastest stage time.

Mark Massey and Graeme Stewart had another solid stage to continue to hold fourth while Kenny McKinstry and Eathan McColgan dropped a couple of places as a result of their rivals’ increased pace.

Sixth placed Derek and Mark McGeehan fitted new tyres to their Mini WRC and they reckoned they were a bit slow during the opening lap as a result. Once the tyres were bedded in and up to temperature, they were quickly back on the pace.

Meanwhile, Stephen Wright and Keith Rainey lost more time with another spin aboard their Ford Fiesta R5.

“That was a good run apart from another silly spin,” Wright revealed. “The first lap was going really nicely and the spin happened on the second lap at a hairpin near the top of the circuit. The time would have been OK otherwise.”

Sean Devine and Sean Ferris hold eighth overall on their return to the series while Keith White and Paul Mulholland have edged further ahead in the 2WD category despite some tyre worries.

“I think the back tyres are going off,” White revealed.

Joe McQuillan and Charlotte McDowall are making tracks in their Impreza WRC and are now 10th overall. Contrary to what we reported earlier, McQuillan’s rival, Brian Watson, is still in the event but it running a bit further down the order after his steering troubles.

Kyle White and Team

James and Heather Kennedy hold second among the 2WD crews in their Escort and are 11th overall but they can’t seem to do much about the flying Keith White. However, the clouds are darkening here at Kirkistown and rain could potentially be on the cards which could throw the cat amongst the pigeons.

Nigel Feeney is keeping a steady pace on his first visit to Kirkistown while Richard and Cheryl Tannahill are recovering from an earlier spin in their Peugeot 208 T16 R5.

John Devlin is embroiled in a battle of the Escorts with Drew Stewart while Kyle White hit trouble towards the end of that third test.

“We were very close to the finish and we lost all drive,” White explained. “I put the clutch in and tried to start her again and away she went but now she’s off a cylinder.”

On a final note, Tommy Speers, who is navigating for Dominic McNeill, is celebrating his 51st year in motorsport this year. Congratulations Tommy!

Tommy Speers

Latest results can be found online at I’ll have more news after stage four.


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