Service 1: Desi Henry Leads from Philip Allen, McErlean Out

Some more news from service. Desi Henry and Liam Moynihan lead the event by 13.7 seconds in their Skoda Fabia R5 despite being unhappy with their car’s handling. The crew were up a bank on stage two and judging by the panel damage, they were lucky to escape relatively unscathed.

Philip Allen and Mark Kane are up to second overall after Derek McGeehan lost precious seconds when his paddlechange stopped working. It’s an intermittent problem that McGeehan reckons is down to a bad fuse connection. He doesn’t have a spare with him so if it happens again, he’s going to have to revert to the manual change.

Callum Devine and Brian Hoy are third overall but they’re also struggling with their car’s handling, hopefully an issue that can be sorted in service.

Manus Kelly was reportedly off the road at the third corner of stage one but he’s made it back into service. “There’s no damage to the car,” Manus revealed, “just my pride.”

Reigning N.I. Champion Derek McGarrity reckons that he’s a bit out of practice. He hasn’t been on closed roads since last July’s Down Rally and it is taking him a bit of time to settle in.

The same can be said for Mini WRC pilot Nigel Feeney who is contesting only his second closed-road event in about nine years!

As for James Leckey, it’s his first closed road event and he’s bedding in well with just a spanner-check needed in service.

“You really have listen to the notes,” Leckey revealed. “You can get away without listening around a track but this is totally different!”

Kyle White has “never been as scared in his life” with tyres that just didn’t work for him on the first loop. He has some new Michelins fitted to his Peugeot 208 R2 and is raring to go for stages three and four.

Joe Hegarty has fixed his Mitsubishi’s boost leak but Paul McErlean (pictured) is out of the event. ‘Chucker’ thought he was going to have the biggest accident of his career when he got caught out on some gravel, clipped a tree and dropped down into a field. He’s out of the rally but the damage to his Escort could have been even worse.

Crews are now on their way to stages three and four for the second loop of stages. Live stage end interviews are available from the ‘OnThePacenote’ Facebook page. Latest rally results are available from

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