SS1: Greer Leads While Competitors Struggle with Dusty Conditions

SS1: After the rain we’ve had in recent days, who would have thought that competitors would be struggling in thick plumes of dust here at the Shackleton-based Eakin Bros Brian James Trailers Dogleap Rally! But the rain has stayed away leaving all crews to contend with a lot of dust, causing a little bit of frustration among competitors…

“We couldn’t even see the chicane,” a frustrated Kenny McKinstry said at the stage finish. “It was unreal!”

Many competitors echoed his comments but at the top of the order, Championship leaders, Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick, have picked up where they left off at round one. They set fastest time in their Citroen C3 by 2.2 seconds from the chasing Desi and Mark Henry (Hyundai i20 R5).

“There was a lot of dust in the narrow section,” Greer said at the stage finish. “We couldn’t see and had to slow down.”

In third place, Josh Moffett and Andy Hayes are a further 3.5 seconds adrift and like many others, they commented on the slippery nature of the stage. Fourth placed Jason Mitchell was perhaps a little surprised to be so far up the leaderboard after he revealed that he “caught other cars in the dust and couldn’t see.”

Number one seeds, Aaron McLaughlin and Darren Curran, are fifth in their Fiesta, just a couple of tenths ahead of Derek and Mark McGeehan (Mini WRC) who reckoned the dust was verging on being dangerous.

Championship contender Derek McGarrity has wheeled out a Fiesta WRC today and holds seventh after the slippery stage. Meanwhile, title rival Stephen Wright had an eventful start to the rally. He and navigator Liam Moynihan had a high speed spin and hit a bale hard, causing some bodywork damage to the rear of their Fiesta.

“It was a big spin in third or fourth gear,” a disappointed Wright said. “It will look good on video if anyone has caught it!”

Peter Bennett and Simon Jones have had a solid start to the rally in their Skoda Fabia S2000 and hold ninth ahead of leading two-wheel-drive pilot, Barry Morris and Dylan Doonan. It looks like the Darrian crew are going to be hard to beat today. Their nearest rivals in the category are already 20 seconds adrift, with John Bradley and Crawford Henderson holding second.

“I couldn’t see anything with all the dust!” Bradley said at the stage finish, a sentiment echoed by third placed James and Heather Kennedy. Gareth Black and Connor Dunlop fourth in the 2WD category, and only 1.3 seconds separate the second to fourth placed crews.

Those in a bit of trouble on the test included Jamie Grant and Ben Teggart. They finished the stage with their brake pedal going to the floor. Michael McGarrity (Fiesta R5) also lost his brakes while Sean Devine’s Fiesta cut out during the stage and initially refused to restart.

Martin Cairns (Fiesta) caught another car and “couldn’t get past for about a mile” while Philip Greenlee (Escort) is having some misfire issues.

Latest results are available from Stage two will be starting soon…

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