After SS1: Greer Blitzes Opposition on Rally Opener!

Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick have blitzed the opposition through the opening stage of the Carryduff Forklift Down Rally, round four of the McGrady Insurance Motorsport UK Northern Ireland Rally Championship!

The stage is still live but provisional positions show that last year’s rally winners were 9.6 seconds faster than Meirion Evans and Jonathan Jackson, who were stunned by Greer’s time, while Daniel Harper and Chris Campbell are third in their Mini WRC.

All of the leading crews commented on how tricky the opening stage transpired to be as heavy overnight rain had left plenty of slippery sections to contend with. Standing water on the apex of corners was lying in wait to catch out the unwary so most crews eased themselves into the event.

Second placed Meirion Evans reckoned his Skoda was set a bit too stiff as he tried to get used to a change of car – his last outing was in a Hyundai. Daniel Harper seemed happy in his Mini WRC as he set a time that was just two-tenths of a second quicker than Jon Armstrong who completed his first stage in a World Rally Car!

Armstrong reckoned he was a bit hesitant in a few places but enjoyed his run in the Dirt 2.0 liveried Mini. If that’s what he can do on his first stage in the car, his stage times with be worth watching as he becomes more accustomed to his mount.

Stephen Wright, who led the N.I. Championship earlier this year after winning the opening round, was fifth fastest through the stage despite reckoning that he wasn’t pushing the car too hard in the conditions.

Melvyn Evans had a little moment through the stage and decided to ease off to make sure he got to the end while Wayne Sisson was another who commented on the standing water and mud being pulled on to the road by the competitors in front.

Derek and Mark McGeehan are aiming to increase their N.I. Championship lead and a solid run left them just inside the top 10 while Derek McGarrity, who is one of their main championship rivals, was a couple of seconds slower. He reckoned his tyre choice was a bit too hard but it would suit better for the following stage.

Damian Cole said it was unbelievably slippy in places with two big puddles on the inside of a corner towards the end. Steve Wood commented on the standing water and multiple N.I. Champion, Kenny McKinstry, commented on the mud being pulled out by the cars in front. John Stone said it was “scary”.

Stuart Biggerstaff – another former N.I. Champion – safely completed the first stage in what is his first time with a left-hand drive car. He has hired the McKinstry Motorsport Fiesta R5 for the event and it looks like he is inside the top 15 overall./ Not a bad start at all!

Ross Brusby and Dave Robson are quickest so far in the two-wheel drive category. They finished the stage less than one second faster than Wesley Patterson and Johnny Baird while Camillus Bradley and Crawford Henderson are third. Just 1.5 seconds separate the top three while John Devlin and John McCarthy are biting at their heels!

Crews are now on their way to stage two before heading back to the Eikon Centre for the spectator stage and then the first service of the day. We’ll catch up with them there!

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